Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Briefing on Big Data, Privacy, and Antitrust Wednesday, March 18, 2015 8:30 – 11:45 am George Mason University School of Law
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 from 8:30 – 11:45 am
George Mason University School of Law
Increasingly, there is a call for competition authorities to take account of firms’ collection and use of consumer data—practices that have been the sole province of consumer protection—when reviewing mergers or conducting antitrust investigations. For example, although the Facebook-WhatsApp, Google-Nest, and Oracle-Datalogix mergers raised no traditional antitrust concerns, some argued for a new competition analysis that would take into account the abilities of the combined entities to collect and utilize consumer data. Indeed, a consortium of public interest groups recently asked the FTC to take a closer look at “increasing concentration” in the “big data digital marketplace.” Further, several commentators urged the FTC to examine privacy-related issues during its investigation into Google’s search practices. At the same time, it’s not at all clear that antitrust can or should accommodate these new non-competition concerns. Critics of conflating antitrust and privacy analysis contend that the use of big data enhances competition by improving service and facilitating entry. What’s more, antitrust analysis traditionally has focused on markets for goods and services that are sold to consumers, not on internally-used resources like data. Would consumers be better served with the continued divorcement of privacy and competition concerns? Or should modern antitrust be more accommodating to privacy concerns in the era of big data? Join the LEC for a morning of lively discussion on this topic. FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will set the stage by discussing her linked Antitrust Law Journal article "Competition, Consumer Protection and The Right [Approach] To Privacy.” A panel discussion on big data and antitrust, which includes some of the leading thinkers on the subject, will follow.