Privacy & Antitrust: “Integration”, not just “Intersection”

17th June 2021

To watch the videos of these two panels, please visit the CEPR site here.


Privacy/data protection and antitrust enforcers continue to operate in silos: data protection agencies (supposedly) enforcing data protection rules, and antitrust agencies doing “market power” and traditional anticompetitive conduct.  Yet market power allows violations of privacy and data protection, and those in turn entrench market power.  Privacy experts deserve a place at the antitrust table to inform the analysis of mergers and conduct, to lessen consumer exploitation and discipline market power. We have long needed “integration,” not just “intersection”.

Is it starting to happen?  The State AG complaints in the US against Facebook and Google are concerned with privacy degradation as monopoly rents, and discriminatory privacy changes as anticompetitive conduct. There are calls for federal privacy regulation.  In Europe, we have had the GDPR since 2018 but enforcement is lagging.  Germany has been a pioneer with Facebook and new cases with a data focus being opened under the new competition law regime. France too.  In the UK the competition and data protection agencies – CMA and ICO – just issued a joint statement setting out a “holistic” approach. This is unprecedented. 

The newly launched CEPR Competition Policy RPN organised a discussion between senior antitrust regulators, privacy experts, and economists.  In the first panel, privacy and data protection experts discussed some key insights for antitrust enforcers.  The second panel discussed with antitrust/data protection leaders about how these ideas are progressing in practice.



Part 1: What are the Privacy Experts Seeing that the Antitrust Regulators are not?
15.00 – 16.20 BST  /  16.00 – 17.20 CEST  /  10.00 – 11.20 EDT

This session will lay out the data harms that arise from degraded privacy and data protection and how this maps into harm to consumers using the language of competition economics.

Johnny Ryan, Senior Fellow, Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Dina Srinivasan, Thurman Arnold Project, Yale University

Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next

Simeon Thornton, Director, UK Competition and Markets Authority

Alessandro Acquisti, Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Moderated by Gregory Crawford, University of Zurich, CEPR and Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates, CEPR


Part 2:  What’s the Progress on Integrating Antitrust & Privacy
16.30 – 18.00 BST  /  17.30-19.00 CEST  /  11.30 – 13.00 EDT

In this session, senior regulators will join the roundtable.  Other speakers to give their view on progress achieved and areas for improvement.

Andrea Coscelli CBE, Chief Executive, UK Competition and Markets Authority

Elizabeth Denham CBE, UK Information Commissioner, Global Privacy Assembly Chair

Andreas Mundt, President, German Cartel Office

Rebecca Slaughter, Commissioner, US Federal Trade Commission

Wojciech Wiewiórowski,  European Data Protection Supervisor

Chris D’Angelo, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Office of the New York Attorney General

Henri Piffaut, Vice President, French Competition Authority

Moderated by Cristina Caffarra and Johnny Ryan

The speakers