Competition Law and Big Data
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Competition Law and Big Data

Imposing Access to Information in Digital Markets

Beata Mäihäniemi

In this timely book, Beata Mäihäniemi analyses and evaluates how the characteristics of information as a good, as well as the characteristics of digital platforms, affect the application of competition law in both theory and practice.
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Chapter 3: Information in digital markets

Beata Mäihäniemi


This chapter attempts to identify the characteristics of information, such as being cumulative or easy to duplicate, which lead to the ability to create an increasing amount of information from already existing information. It evaluates the fact that Google, Facebook or Amazon base their business models on gathering large amounts of big data, which is provided for ‘free’, although users pay for the service with their data – often consciously, sometimes not knowing about the gathering of their information from particular sources. Moreover, the chapter stresses that the distinction between seeing information as commons or commodity may be useful for competition law purposes. It also introduces recent cases on big data, such as the Bundeskartellamt investigations into Facebook’s behaviour (and the corresponding decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf suspending this decision) where Facebook gathers users’ data without their knowledge regarding which third-party websites they visit; or initial investigations into Amazon on their gathering of rivals’ business information.

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