Priyadarsini T. P. from the National Law University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi talks about Big Data Analytics.
The aim of this article is to analyze the implications that big data analytics can have on competition and to assess the suitability of the present anti-trust regime to deal with such consequences. This article assumes importance in the light of antitrust regulators all around the world, including the Competition Commission of India, recognizing consequences of a growing digital economy on competition. While digital markets have affected competition in many ways, this article focuses on the aspects of antitrust law in the background of data collection and analysis. It begins by elucidating on the concept of big data. It aims to firmly establish the utility and relevance of big data in today’s times. Then, it goes on to throw some light on the present and potential anti-competitive conduct that data-driven businesses and datacentered markets may give rise to, such as abuse of dominance by refusal to deal, tying, etc., facilitation of concerted practices by price algorithm, new-age data-driven mergers and so on.
The author also discusses the opinions that argue against the notion that data can lead to anticompetitive practices and attempts to disprove the same. The article then examines some elements of antitrust law such as defining relevant market, assessing dominance, etc. regarded as crucial in an anti-trust inquiry which may need some tweaks in light of anti-competitive practices associated with big data. It concludes by arguing that heavy reliance on traditional antitrust tools may make anti-trust regulators’ job difficult when it comes to assessing whether certain data related conduct affects competition or not. The author also incorporates suggestions which the competition authorities may find useful while conducting inquiries into data related competitive abuses.