Data-related Abuse of Dominance in Digital Economy: A Template for Future Regulation in India

By Kashish Makkar & Saarthak Jain (National Law School of India University)

It is now trite to say that data has become the new oil of the digital economy. Most corporations, across industries, seek to collect as much data as possible and seek to employ it in as varied applications as they can. Not surprisingly, the growing importance of data has resulted in several new challenges to competition, which necessarily require competition enforcement authorities to be on guard. The present paper is an examination of the legal landscape regulating data-related abusive behavior in digital markets. It maps the recognition of data-related competitive concerns in the European Union where this issue has received considerable attention, with Germany particularly leading the way through its investigation and proceedings against Facebook. Subsequently, the paper examines the position in India by focusing on the Competition Commission of India’s decision in Google v. Matrimony. It finds that the Indian approach to data-related abuses leaves much to be desired, with the CCI failing to effectively engage with such issues. The paper calls for a rationalization of the legal regime, so that increasing focus is laid on data protection and privacy related issues during substantive competition law assessments.