The question of data portability, in its many forms, has long been an antitrust issue. This stems back as far as the Microsoft interoperability cases of the 1990s, or even further (notably such as in telecoms markets).
Today, however, data portability has taken on even greater importance in antitrust discourse. Like many concepts, it is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, regulators wish to ensure that competitors are not foreclosed by dominant platforms who maintain walled gardens of data that erect barriers to entry. On the other hand, particularly in light of data protection rules such as those enacted in California and the EU, it has been recognized that consumers have a right to protect their own data, which renders complex the imposition of antitrust remedies mandating its portability. Mandating data portability can also create other unintended consequences, by potentially distorting companies’ incentives to innovate.
Navigating the strait between portability and consumer data protection will be one of the key dilemmas facing regulators in years to come.
The contributions to this volume plot a course through this dilemma by discussing the latest developments in both data portability around the world, and its interaction with other laws and regulations.
As always, thank you to our great panel of authors.