The concentration of market power in the hands of a few technology firms—from Microsoft to Google—has raised concerns amongst regulators and policymakers around the world. The collection and processing of personal data is at the heart of the revenue models and market power of these firms and digital platforms more broadly. In this essay, we analyse the role data plays in digital competition dynamics and chart the evolution of the Competition Commission of India’s approach towards digital platforms. We examine the pitfalls of keeping a firewall between the competition and data protection regulatory frameworks given the myriad ways in which control over data and digital privacy factors intersect with exploitative conduct and consumer harm in digital markets. Finally, we propose a more holistic approach that understands and uses the synergies between competition and data protection concerns to protect consumers and the competitive process in India.
Automated Decision Systems (ADS) are becoming crucial components of consumer-market and citizen-state interactions and need effective, holistic regulatory guidelines.
Digital public infrastructure can help design and transform equitable public systems. A Resource Hub model that strengthens technical capacity and leadership within governments is the way forward.
The draft National Data Governance Framework Policy, 2022 still suffers from issues of implementation, capacity and incentives.
Rationale: Avoiding excess health damages attributable to climate change is a primary motivator for policy interventions to reduce greenhouse