The U.S. House of Representatives recently released a long-anticipated report on the state of antitrust in consumer tech. It found that key gateways and highways online are heavily consolidated around a few Consumer Big Tech giants and that reforms of antitrust laws are needed to inject more competition into the internet.
But while the report’s recommendations are ambitious, they are not enough to take on all of the harmful effects to our culture, economy, and politics caused by consolidated consumer tech markets. One reason is that they do not tackle the law’s foundational shortcomings, which overly complicate the antitrust analysis and must be reformed. The other reason goes to the core of what modern competition laws are and what they are not, which requires looking beyond antitrust to other rules and regulations to rein in the broader societal consequences of bigness in the digital economy. Continue reading “Reining in Consumer Big Tech: Antitrust and Beyond”
Shortcomings in antitrust enforcement are causing jurisdictions around the world to consider industry regulation of tech. But instead of sweeping utility-like regulation, so far those efforts are targeting specific sectors such as digital platforms and particular conduct that is outside the reach of traditional competition laws.
After years of analysis, debate, and enforcement efforts, policymakers are realizing that competition laws cannot deal with many of the social and economic problems created by the proliferation of digital platforms. The EU, UK, Australia, and Japan are taking a hard look at sector-specific regulation to deal with issues related to data access and unfair business practices that overlap with antitrust issues but cannot be clearly regulated by those laws. These new rules will redefine the legal landscape for online platforms and be a testing ground for industry regulation in other tech sectors. Continue reading “Why industry regulation of tech is coming, and what it will look like”
An interim report on a study of digital advertising done by the competition authority of Japan signals an expansive look at antitrust, data privacy, and consumer protection concerns sharing the hallmarks of recent enforcement against digital platforms in Europe.
Digital advertising platforms are services (offered by companies like Facebook and Google) connecting online publishers who want to sell advertising space to advertisers who want to pay to use that space. The interim report (which does not mention any specific platforms) contains initial factual findings from surveys sent to the various market players by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). Continue reading “Interim report signals expansive study of digital advertising by Japan’s JFTC”
California earlier this year took a big first step to narrow the American-European tech regulatory divide with a comprehensive data privacy law. Tech companies operating in two of the largest markets in the world must now give their users some basic transparency and control over what data is collected about them and why. But data protection is more than just another compliance check-box. Data privacy rules are reshaping digital markets and informing the debate about competition policy in tech to address increased consumer demand for better protection of personal information. Continue reading “The visible hand: how data privacy can reshape digital markets and inform competition policy”
Continue reading “The browser wars: cookies at the intersection of privacy and competition”