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Week Recap 7

Christophe Carugati

29 Nov 2022

In this week's recap, Germany investigates Meta data processing terms, France commissioned a study on competition and privacy, and the UK launched an investigation into cloud gaming and mobile browsers.

Germany investigates Meta data processing terms

Germany is shaping how Meta will work in the future. Meta offered a concession to the German competition division about the use of its VR handsets to solve competition concerns about consumer lock-into Meta ecosystem due to the obligation to register with a Facebook or Instagram account. The concession is simple. Users will be able to register with a separate account—the Meta account. I guess it is a win for both. Meta can then attract users that left Facebook and young users that use other social media, such as TikTok. The Germans prevent a potential lock-in, especially in a context where the Metaverse may be the next generation of devices. But it is not over. The competition division is now investigating Meta data processing terms, including data combination between Meta services, and how it designs the choice architecture in a way that does not influence users. Interestingly, the German Facebook case, which prohibits Facebook from combining data from third-party sources without the user's voluntary consent, has a spillover effect on this case. Meta will then keep separate data generated with the Meta account from data generated from other Meta services. It is a fascinating case at the intersection between competition, consumer protection, and data protection laws.

France commissioned a study on competition and privacy

It is never too late to take a position on competition and privacy. The French data protection division commissioned a study to a former President of the French competition division, Bruno Lasserre, on competition and privacy. He will have to answer questions on how competition and privacy can work together in both competition and privacy cases, including how to assess privacy in the computation of damages. Hopefully, for him, academics have been looking at this topic for several years (a bit of self-preferencing, but you can read my paper on the antitrust privacy dilemma and an overview of privacy in cases relevant to competition).

The UK launched an investigation into cloud gaming and mobile browsers

The UK does not yet have a digital competition regulation. However, it has a super competition tool that allows it to impose changes on market players following a market investigation. The last one concerns the growing market of cloud gaming and mobile web browsers over allegations that Apple and Google impose restrictions that prevent innovation—a sign that the UK is still in the race to regulate big tech.

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