In this seminar, Prof. Graef discusses three ways in which the effectiveness of regulation in the areas of competition, data and consumer protection can be improved by tailoring substantive protections and enforcement mechanisms to the extent of market power held by firms. These insights feed into the issue how to design and enforce the forthcoming EU Digital Services Act in an effective manner.
First, she analyses how market power can be integrated into the substantive scope of protection of data protection and consumer law, drawing inspiration from competition law’s special responsibility for dominant firms. Second, she illustrates how more asymmetric and smarter enforcement of existing data protection rules against firms possessing market power can strengthen the protection of data subjects and stimulate competition, based on lessons from priority-setting and cooperation by consumer authorities. Third, she explores how competition law’s special responsibility for dominant firms can be further strengthened in analogy with the principle of accountability in data protection law and touching upon how positive duties to ensure fair outcomes for consumers are developed in consumer law. The timely analysis offers lessons for improving the ability of the three regimes to protect consumers by imposing greater responsibility on firms with greater market power and thus posing greater risks for consumer harm.