EU antitrust regulator concerned about big data's effects on competition

EU antitrust regulator concerned about big data's effects on competition
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The European Union’s antitrust watchdog said in an interview published Tuesday that her office plans to scrutinize how corporations control large amounts of data.

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition commissioner, told The Wall Street Journal that she is concerned with how large companies can use their access to mass datasets of consumers to hurt potential competitors.

“In some areas, these data are extremely valuable,” Vestager said in an interview with the Journal. “They can foreclose the market — they can give the parties that have them immense business opportunities that are not available to others.”

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Vestager put U.S. tech companies on notice last year when she fined Google a record $2.7 billion for promoting its own comparison shopping service over competitors in search results. Her office is also reportedly expected to issue new fines for the internet giant in two other investigations.

When it comes to large corporations’ data assets, Vestager told the Journal that she has an “open mind” about what role regulators can play. That may include forcing companies to share consumer data files with competitors, a course that U.S. regulators have largely rejected.