Brussels

Big Data & Competition

Workshop organised by Concurrences Review in partnership with Shearman & Sterling and MAPP.

Geert Goeteyn moderated the discussion on big data. In light of recent cases at both Commission and Member States level it was a good time to take stock, see where we stand and where the future might go.

Giovanni Buttarelli described “big data and competition” as the topic that refuses to die. In his view, the debate may have been side-tracked, diverted into an area that is partially irrelevant for individual consumers. Imbalances between consumers and dominant companies are a concern for antitrust, consumer and data protection regulators. Today’s digital society experiences the ubiquity of personal connected devices and sensors on daily objects. As a consequence, we all leave a sort of “digital deposit”, where what we do and where we go is constantly tracked. This has some financial consequences when put in perspective: one gigabyte of information cost €100.000 in 1995, €10 in 2000, and 10 cents in 2010. Digital deposits are typically stored indefinitely and therefore venture capitalists and shareholders expect companies to find ways of monetizing that information.

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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Speakers