Antitrust and restrictions on privacy in the digital economy

We present a model of a market failure based on a requirement provision by digital platforms in the acquisition of personal information from users of other products/services. We establish the economic harm from the market failure and the requirement using traditional antitrust methodology. Eliminating the requirement and the market failure by creating a functioning market for the sale of personal information would create a functioning market for personal information that would benefit users. Even though market harm is established under the assumption that consumers are perfectly informed about the value of their privacy, we show that when users are not well informed, there can be additional harms to this market failure.

I. Introduction 1. Traditionally, antitrust regulation was largely disjoint from privacy regulation. Presently, dominant digital platforms’ practices blur the divide between antitrust and privacy regulations. The interplay of privacy protection with antitrust creates an important challenge for both the application of antitrust and privacy regulations. 2. Data protection and privacy regulations often take a fundamental rights perspective, seeing privacy as an issue of rights. Personal privacy is protected in Europe by GDPR. [1] In the United States, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) 2018 [2] and several sector-specific data and privacy protection regimes have been enacted at both the federal and state levels. [3] Competition law usually takes a market failure approach and is

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  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • University College London


Nicholas Economides, Ioannis Lianos, Antitrust and restrictions on privacy in the digital economy, September 2020, Concurrences N° 3-2020, Art. N° 94275,

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