- Market power — Rights — Internet — Technology
This chapter describes how privacy can be viewed as a parameter of quality competition. It starts by discussing the emerging consensus of privacy protection as a parameter of non-price quality competition. As several European Commission officials have noted, if a website, post-merger, starts to require more personal data from users or supply such data to third parties as a condition for delivering its ‘free’ product, then this could be seen as either increasing its price or as degrading the quality of its product and violating competition law. The presence of competition over privacy is a useful indicator, not only of firms’ willingness to adapt to consumers’ desires, but also consumers’ understanding of the use of their data in that market, and the effectiveness of competition in the market in question. The chapter ends with a discussion on how antitrust can promote privacy interests generally by promoting citizens’ welfare (and well-being).