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Business Articles Awards > General Antitrust

Internet of Things: Antitrust Concerns in the Pipeline?

Bill Batchelor and Grant Murray, International Law Office, May 2016

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Ever since the incoming EU competition commissioner said that information is the new currency of the Internet, antitrust commentators began to spill ink on Big Data. The topic now seems to occupy a place on the agenda of many antitrust conferences and the US Council Of Economic Advisers (to the president) recently flagged it as a potential area for further exploration to enhance competition.(1) An executive order followed, asking all executive agencies and departments to take steps to address competition concerns.

When it comes to Big Data, in one camp there are antitrust commentators who worry that, much like a ’free lunch’, there is no such thing as a ’free’ internet service and that rules and regulations must exist to prevent consumer harm. This camp does not worry about an apparent overlap with data privacy and transparency concerns and laws. It instead points to such cases as Libor, which have been the subject of both regulatory and antitrust scrutiny. However, the legislative/antitrust interface has been seen in the tech space before (eg, the right to interoperability in the EU Software Directive and data portability provisions in the new General Data Protection Regulation).

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