As data privacy is a huge topic of debate right now for everyone who operates anything that connects to the internet, so it is the same for big tech companies who are now being given fair warning into the ways they collect and harvest personal data. Their privacy practices they provide for consumers is being carefully watched in a different light and by different organizations. The European Union’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, has warned tech giants like Google and Facebook could very well be close to breaching the region’s competition rules based on the amounts of personal data the tech companies collect and the ways they use it for dominating the markets. On the Europeans Commissions Competition website it states that competition encourages different companies to offer goods and services at the most favorable terms. It also encourages efficiency and innovation while reducing prices for consumers on the stance for fair marketing. But with huge tech companies such as Google and Facebook, the amounts of data they collect really can play at a disadvantage to smaller and more locally owned businesses in terms of reaching their customers via online or through social networking.
Margrethe Vestager, who also brought up antitrust charges against Google last April, saying that the tech search giant favored its digital services more than those of its rivals, is looking at the issue with Google very carefully and with great concern. Vestager went on to say, “If a few companies control the data you need to cut costs, then you give them the power to drive others out of the market… If a company’s use of data is so bad for competition that it outweighs the benefits, we may have to step in to restore a level playing field.” It’s also worth mentioning that while she has brought up issues against Google back in April, she has equally done the same for Android stating that complaints by rivals have been made that Google uses its mobile OS as a “Trojan Horse” for other Google services in order to “dominate the mobile marketplace and cement its control over consumer Internet data for online advertising as usage shifts to mobile”.
While giving the speech at the DLD (Digital Life Design) conference in Munich, which is a global conference network designed to create future visions and digital innovations among other great things, she explained that the EC (European Commission) would look to differentiate between different types of data, while looking at how data is also acquired by the tech companies. She also will be looking as to why some companies are able to acquire more useful data than their competition and why they aren’t able to collect the same data from their own customers or even purchase it from a data company. While some of the major tech companies will most likely not be happy with this sort of light shining on them, they should take notice that Vestager is merely interested in how they obtain user data and how they use it to dominate the markets, so there is technically no risk to them yet. Although the tech giants might see this as a bad thing, this will eventually help ease fair competition to all those early and local companies looking to use online services to grow their business.