Data or data protection? Antitrust implications of a missing distinction

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"The growth of the digital economy is closely related to a significant increase in the collection and use of data. As computing processing capacity increases and becomes widely available, data plays an ever-growing role in many companies’ decision-making strategies, and competition law has increasingly recognized the need to understand the importance of data in market dynamics. Can data lead to market power in certain contexts or can data lead to barriers to entry are examples of questions that competition agencies started to pursue, and that pose significant challenges to competition enforcers around the globe. This paper does not seek to address these questions though. In fact, a central contention in this paper is that such category of questions – whether data can result in market power or increase barriers to entry – are very different in nature and should be separated from a debate as to the relationship of privacy and data protection with competition law. While these debates may intersect at some point, a clear distinction is key for a proper analysis of the problems at hand and the competition tools available.