Competition, Data and Privacy in the Digital Economy : Towards a Privacy Dimension in Competition Policy?
Maria Wasastjerna

Increasingly, we conduct our lives online, and in doing so, we grant access to our personal information. The crucial feedstock of the world economy thus generated - the commercialization and exploitation of personal data and the intrusion of digital privacy it entails - has built an imposing edifice of market power. As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, this detailed exploration of the interlinkage between competition and data privacy takes a critical look at competition policy to evaluate whether the system in its current form and with the existing approach is capable of tackling the challenges raised by the role of personal data in the shift from an offline to an online economy. Challenging the commonplace assumption that privacy has little or no role and relevance in competition law, the author's penetrating analysis accomplishes the following and more: provides an in-depth understanding of the intersection of competition and privacy in the data-driven economy; surveys legal policy developments on the role of privacy in competition law; underlines the importance of non-price parameters in competition, such as consumer choice; clearly explains why and how competition law can protect privacy among its policy objectives; and addresses challenges in measuring the intangible harm of digital privacy violation in assessing abuse of market power. Recent case law in Europe and elsewhere, a revealing comparison between relevant European Union (EU) and United States (US) practice, the expanded role of the EU's Competition Commissioner, and the likely impact of such phenomena as the coronavirus pandemic are all drawn into the book's remit. In her analysis of the growing privacy dimension in competition policy, the author examines the topic from a broad perspective that includes societal, political, economic, historical and cultural elements. Her insightful multidimensional and value-based review will prove of immeasurable value to practitioners, academics, policymakers and enforcers in its identification of implications for business practice as we go forward.

Kluwer Law International
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