Companies’ Data Gathering Could Raise Competition Concerns, Says Almunia

On Nov. 26, 2012, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia delivered a speech in which he suggested that the use of personal data by companies could potentially be capable of raising competition concerns as well as privacy issues. He noted that the European Commission had not yet handled a competition investigation relating to data protection and privacy, but gave a strong indication that there was room for using competition enforcement alongside regulation and consumer policy in the data sector. Almunia cited the 2008 Google/Doubleclick merger, in which the Commission examined the market for personal data for the first time, but noted that the deal was cleared without the Commission reaching any definitive conclusions. The EU data protection laws are currently being reformed, following proposals from the Commission for a new Regulation in January 2012. With significant growth in the amount of personal data being gathered by companies in recent years, the Commission appears keen to ensure that any potential abuse is monitored and appropriate enforcement action—including under EU competition law—is taken. Almunia’s speech is available here.

Comments are closed.