EC looks to exploitative abuse on data, says official – ABA Spring Meeting

29 April 2020 - 12:00 am UTC

  • Privacy, antitrust law can work hand-in-hand, EC official says
  • Exploitative abuses could become more mainstream in privacy, data cases


Competition enforcers may want to consider violations related to data-gathering or pooling in the context of exploitative abuse rather than privacy per se, a senior European Commission (EC) official said today (29 April).


Privacy and antitrust enforcement should not be treated in the same box, said Thomas Kramler, DG Comp’s head of unit for antitrust in ecommerce and digital economy, adding: “That doesn’t mean that two cannot work hand-in-hand, that there cannot be a link between the two, but one has to link it properly.”


The EC official was referring to the German competition authority’s case against Facebook which is currently under appeal at the country’s Supreme Court and due for a June hearing.


Discussion since the Bundekartellamt’s 2019 decision has focused on what needs to be demonstrated in order to make the link between infringement of data protection rules and antitrust, on whether it affects competition and how, the EC official said.