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Week Recap 9

Christophe Carugati

17 Jan 2023

In this week's recap, Germany tackled Google's data processing terms, Europe is reviewing a telco joint venture to create a privacy-friendly ad-tech solution, and the Commission created a new directorate for digital platforms

Google's data processing terms

The German competition division sent, for the first time, a statement of objections under its new competition law—section 19a GWB—to tackle Google's data processing terms. The "Mundt team" considers that Google does not give enough choices to users. As in the German Facebook case, it uses principles in data protection laws to estimate Google's terms as illegal under German competition law. The team also looks at the interface design and explicitly deems that behavioral techniques influencing users' choices are not permissible. Interestingly, the case opens the door to challenge the compatibility of section 19a with the DMA, as it is unclear whether section 19a can impose requirements that exceed the DMA on future gatekeepers.

Telco joint venture

The European competition watchdog is reviewing the joint venture (JV) of four network operators that want to create a privacy-friendly identification solution to offer ad tech services. The wedding raises important privacy and competition issues. On the privacy side, although users would be in control of their data, the solution relies on IP addresses that put users' privacy at risk, according to some experts. On the competition side, telcos might collude their vast amount of data and exploit users to collect even more data about them. The watchdog has already investigated privacy in several weddings, but it is the first one where privacy is at the core of it.

New directorate for digital platforms

The European watchdog created a new directorate for digital platforms. Composed of currently 32 people, it will enforce the DMA and ongoing digital competition cases. Unsurprisingly most of the staff comes from the previous competition division in charge of digital cases.

News on the website

I updated the tracker on section 19a.

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