This is a rundown of last week’s news updates on Privacy and Antitrust:
UK to develop its own privacy rules
Given Britain’s exit from the European Union, the question has now revolved around Britain’s obligations under privacy law, as it would now be considered as a third country under the provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which encumbers stricter compliance for handling data. As part of its overhaul of its Data Protection Act, Britain intends to do away with cookie popups and consent requests, in what it terms a “common sense” move. The aim behind such a move is supposedly to “boost growth especially for small firms and startups, speed up scientific discoveries and improve public services”. The British government also intends to enter into adequacy agreements with six shortlisted nations, to establish that UK data protection law is adequate by their own standards, facilitating ease in data transfer across borders.
Delhi High Court holds right to privacy includes right to be forgotten
In a suit filed by a Bengali actress, the Delhi High Court has memorialised the right to be forgotten, as a corollary to the right to privacy that was established by a Supreme Court decision in 2017. As a remedy consequent to the finding of the existence of a right to be forgotten, the Court ordered various online platforms, YouTube being one of them, to remove explicit material from their sites that involved the actress. The Court noted that invasions to privacy must be remedied especially when the actress’ personality was being exhibited against her will.
Competition Commission of India fines Maruti Suzuki Rs. 200 crores for anticompetitive behaviour
The CCI has found that leading car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki’s dealer discount policy, wherein it forced its dealers to subscribe to a maximum level of discount offered to consumers, resulted in an adverse effect on competition by harming consumers who could have enjoyed lower prices had dealers been extended the freedom to compete competitively. The CCI has asked Maruti to cease and desist from continuing such practices, and also deposit the fine amount within 60 days. The CCI also took the liberty to effectively term the fine amount as conservative, as it iterated that the fine amount was decided upon after considering the post-pandemic recovery phase of the automobile sector.
App Store no longer exclusive intermediary for payments
Following a lawsuit filed by a group of small app developers, and possible mounting antitrust scrutiny, tech giant Apple has stated that it will now allow developers provide users with options to make payments outside the App Store, along with expansions to the types of prices that developers can charge via subscriptions, in-app purchases and paid apps. This move is widely viewed as a means to stem the bleeding caused by Apple’s monopolistic practices in regulating activity on their App Store, which involved a tight grip over downloading of apps, as well as the high commission levied on purchases made through the App Store.
Federal Trade Commission refiles suit against Facebook for abuse of dominance
In a follow up to our previous post, the US’ antitrust watchdog, the FTC, has refiled a suit against social media giant Facebook for engaging in anticompetitive behaviour and abuse of dominance, by way of ‘buying and burying’ its competitors. The evidence submitted by the FTC points to instances where Facebook bought out companies that threatened its dominance and then shut them down, or hired talented developers and after making them sign extremely restrictive contracts, forced them to quit the company. The FTC has also challenged Facebook’s acquisitions of Whatsapp and Instagram. Facebook contends however that its acquisition of Whatsapp and Instagram were unanimously approved by the FTC as well as other competition regulators in the EU and elsewhere, and holds the FTC decision as contrary to the operation of antitrust law.
Authored by Rohan Joshua Jacob (Associate).
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