Tech giants forced to share data under Dutch plan to update competition rules

27 May 2019 00:00

Tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google should be subject to updated competition rules that force them to share data and allow EU authorities to investigate their market dominant position, Mona Keijzer, the Dutch state secretary for economic affairs, told MLex.

Keijzer’s remarks come as she submitted a proposal to national parliament to make competition rules fit for the digital age.

In particular, she said, “gateways” such as hotel booking websites or large e-commerce platforms — which force other businesses to use them to reach consumers — should be watched by regulators to investigate if they are restricting consumer choice and abusing their dominant positions.

“They decide who can be on their platform and under which condition they can trade. We have to put some measures in place to give our authorities the competence to make them more transparent than they are now. We can make them exchange data for example,” Keijzer said.

She added that merger legislation should also be updated to include review thresholds based on transaction value as well as turnover. This will make it more difficult for digital platforms to buy up companies like small startups that could become rivals in the future.

“The value of data should be taken into consideration in merger legislation. That is why when Facebook was trying to buy WhatsApp, [regulators] could not address the issue,” she said.

Keijzer discussed the plan with her counterparts from other EU countries in Brussels today, where she hoped to find allies.

“Especially my colleagues in strong digitized societies understand this and realize that we need to strengthen competition rules,” she said.

Keijzer added that this proposal comes at an important time, and said the topic should be on top of the list of the next European Commission which will take office later this year.

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