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Entities with mkt power should not use people’s data in exploitative manner

Amid the rising number of new-age markets-related cases coming under its scanner, CCI chief Ashok Kumar Gupta has said the watchdog’s role from the competition perspective is to ensure that people’s data is not used in an ”exploitative or exclusionary manner by entities possessing market power”.

In interventions in new-age markets, Gupta also asserted that anti-trust agencies need to strike a delicate balance in addressing market distortions without stifling efficiency and innovation.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has the mandate to curb unfair business practices as well as promote fair competition, has been looking to strengthen its capacity to address the challenges emanating from new-age markets. The regulator is already probing various cases in the digital markets after prima-facie finding violations of competition norms.

Against this backdrop, the CCI Chairperson acknowledged that anti-competitive practices in digital markets need to be dealt with rapidly lest the market tips irreversibly and that multiple things are occurring dynamically in digital markets.

In an interview with PTI, Gupta said the CCI has to be ”nimble-footed” to prevent anti-competitive practices and in carrying out market corrections.

According to him, in dealing with digital markets, ”the CCI’s role is to ensure that, from the competition perspective, people’s data is not used in an exploitative or exclusionary manner by entities possessing market power”.

The remarks from the head of the competition watchdog also assume significance amid concerns in various quarters about data privacy and algorithms used by social media platforms.

Recently, Union Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that no algorithm of any social media platform should violate the fundamental rights of Indians, and the laws and jurisprudence would need to evolve continuously to keep pace with the changing nature of the internet.

About the digital markets, Gupta said it needs to be ensured that steps towards recovery do not irreversibly alter markets and that competition principle are respected along the way, ”especially by ‘gatekeeper’ firms that provide online intermediation services”.

”On the one hand, digital markets are bringing in innovation, but on the other, they are giving rise to various competition concerns.

”In recent times, there has been a steady rise in cases examined by CCI emanating from new-age markets. Given the rapid evolution of digital markets, CCI has been readying its capacities to address challenges arising out of new-age markets,” the CCI Chairperson said.

During the pandemic, the reliance of consumers and businesses on digital platforms has accelerated considerably. This scenario along with the rise of the digital economy has multiplied the ”need for competition agencies to take a closer look at digital markets”, he added. PTI

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