Cybera’s response to the Competition Bureau’s review of anti-competitive conduct in the digital economy

Last week, Cybera submitted a response to the Competition Bureau’s call for comments on anti-competitive conduct in the digital economy. In its discussion document, the Competition Bureau called attention to the increasing market concentration of certain core digital markets, including digital platforms such as Facebook and Google. 

The Bureau noted the role that big data plays in maintaining strategic market dominance for these digital platforms, and asked for comments on the benefits and drawbacks of this market reality. In our response, Cybera called on the Competition Bureau to view these issues through the lens of consumers, and to support greater digital rights and autonomy for Canadians engaging in the digital marketplace. To do so, we recommend that the Bureau further investigate alternative means of data governance, including data trusts and anonymization, that will reduce barriers to entry for new digital companies. 

In all, Cybera proposed the following recommendations to the Competition Bureau:

  1. Focus on a consumer welfare approach to competition issues in core digital markets. 
  2. Support the rights of consumers to safely transfer their data between digital platforms.
  3. Support the use of anonymized data in the digital marketplace.
  4. Support data trusts as a structure for data governance.
  5. Follow the example of the GDPR in protecting the right of individuals to know how their data is being used.
  6. Give the Competition Bureau increased powers to set regulatory direction and punitive measures.

The open call for information from the Competition Bureau forms one part of its efforts to ensure that Canadians realize the full benefits of competition in the rapidly growing digital economy. Anyone with information about conduct in the digital economy that may be harmful to competition is invited to submit a response.

Read Cybera’s full response below.

Competition Bureau Consultation