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Challenges of the Data Economy

Regulating the dynamic changes in the data economy is a challenge for regulators the world over.

Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Simms told attendees of the that there are challenges around identifying the competition impacts and the identifying consumer issues at the recent Gilbert & Tobin Seminar.

He mentioned that the German Competition Act was erectly amended to ‘address challenges of digitalisation’. And suggested that this change indicated an international interest in these issues.

The UK Competition Markets Authority (CMA) made a submission to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) explaining that it is difficult to predict the path of the digital market with little historical data.

In their submission, the Implications of E-commerce for Competition Policy which was published in early 6 June of this year.

While the CMA acknowledges the impact of the digital economy they not that the competition regulator is not ‘best placed’ to tackle the digital economy and the digitalisation in general.

Sims addressed some of these challenges in his own presentation as well with the rapidly shifting landscape in the digital economy.

“A number of acquisitions by the big-tech companies, and the extent to which these acquisitions contributed to the market power held by these companies, have been the subject of scrutiny: Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp in 2014 are some of the key transactions, but there are others,” Sims said.

The implications of the Consumer Data Right

This deals with the challenges of regulating digital platforms but also looking at the impact of the consumer data right (CDR).

The data economy would be of particular interest to the ACCC because of their role with the CDR.

Sims said that the CDR will allow consumers to safely share their data with a ‘trusted’ service providers.

There have been a lot of discussions about what the CDR is and what the implications of it will be but Sims also looks at the CDR will not be about

“It isn’t an access regime. There is no general right of access for competitors or potential rivals to data held by an incumbent, in the banking sector or elsewhere. The rights created in the regime belong to the consumer, not to a competitor,” he explained.

The primary focus is, of course, around consumer protection and the competition in the market.

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