US: Delrahim delivers remarks on antitrust & innovation in the digital economy

In remarks delivered at the University of Haifa in Israel on Wednesday, October 17, the US Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim spoke about antitrust and innovation in today’s digital economy. Delrahim compared innovation and enforcement of the digital market between the US and Israel while also mentioning that he plans to focus on “big data” during the remainder of his time at the DOJ.

“Data has been called the ‘new raw material of business: an economic input almost on par with capital and labor.’ Given its increasing importance, data – including what some call ‘big data’ – has become a popular topic in debates on competition policy in the digital economy.

“Some have raised concerns that the accumulation of large amounts of data can give companies an unfair advantage or create barriers to entry. They have advocated for more aggressive antitrust intervention, including requiring that large online platforms share data with smaller competitors.

“These calls for new categorical rules for data in competition policy overlook the fact that all data is not the same. Data can refer to different types of information, from different sources, used by firms in different ways. Not all ‘big data’ is ‘bad,’ just as not all big firms are bad… Indeed, there are many ways that accumulation of data drives innovation and benefits consumers.

“I am therefore wary of claims that ‘big data’ is necessarily a barrier to entry or that, on its own, it constitutes evidence of market power or an unfair advantage. Antitrust agencies need to appreciate differences in data and assess data issues on a case-by-case basis.

“In fact, the collection of data by online services, done in accordance with privacy policies, can generate significant procompetitive benefits.”

Full Content: Gov DOJ

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