The Analysis of Big data Challenges for Competition Law

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor of Law, Shahid Beheshti University



Competition law in recent years has realized the growing importance of a huge volume of data with variety and velocity characteristics in the platform and digital markets, which are reduced to meaningful information by employing artificial intelligence and machine learning process, and sometimes serve legitimate competitive purposes and sometimes shows its potentials for violating competition law norms. Having clarified the exact concept of big data and its functions in the competition field, this paper is going to show how big data has been employed as a tool for collusion among competitors and how dominant undertakings misuse their position by taking anticompetitive practices such as unilateral refusal to share or giving discriminatory access to big data, restrict the competition for competitors, and by exploiting the potential of big data, extend their market power unduly to vertical or related markets. This paper also clarifies the important role of big data in the concentration process and critiques the extention of implementing traditional competition law criteria governing mergers and acquisitions in the field of big data. Analyzing the current framework of Iranian competition law suggests that regarding the general and ambiguous existing laws, we can’t regulate competition-oriented challenges of big data, and in addition, the approaches adopted in the new regulations are subject to serious criticism. Regardless of the fact that advanced competition law systems are also confused in confronting some big data issues, the most important step in Iranian law to solve related competition problems arising from big data is to understand the requirements of digital markets and adopt a particular competition policy of such markets and pay attention to the role of big data.


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