Competition Law and Privacy:

Interplay between Right to Privacy, Personal Data Protection Bill and Competition Act, 2002
Key areas: Whether data protection can be an anti-trust concern?

Businesses and Organizations thrive on the information between consumers and businesses. This means that businesses have access to datasets of consumers and as the technology is getting more and more advanced, the business are now being able to process this data. Firms are now collecting personal as well as non-personal data of users in exchange for the services they provide. This data is compromised when firms use it for profit by selling these datasets to other companies in exchange for a price, without the knowledge and consent of the consumers. This creates an interplay between Right to Privacy, Personal Data Protection Bill and Competition Act, 2002.

The Facebook-Whatsapp merger is another threat to data privacy. Prior to their merger, both companies had separate databases. Upon completion of the merger, WhatsApp altered its privacy policy and allowed access to data of its users with Facebook. Breach of data violates the right of privacy of consumers as their data is being shared without their consent.
Therefore, a new bill called the Personal Data Protection Bill is introduced in the Parliament. The Proposed Bill has generated huge interest and debate among various stakeholders including businesses, academia, citizen interest groups and think tanks. On one hand, the proponents of privacy rights are pushing for stringent data
protection measures while on the other, the businesses argue that the increased costs of data protection compliance may make businesses unviable. One of the main criticisms of the Proposed Bill has been that it seeks to protect data as an end in itself, rather than means to an end. Subsequently, the bill has to go through some significant changes, keeping the interest of companies as well as consumers in mind.

Important Resources:

  1. (Privacy breaches in digital transactions:)
  3. (Why data protection should not be an antitrust concern)