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Federal Competition Authority, Data Protection Authority, E-Control and Telecommunications and Postal Services Division of the Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications meet to discuss digitalisation, competition and data protection

AFCA invited institutions to exchange ideas.

The heads of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA), Theodor Thanner, and of the Austrian Data Protection Authority, Andrea Jelinek, the Executive Director of E-Control, Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, and the Managing Director of the Telecommunications and Postal Services Division of the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR), Klaus M. Steinmaurer, met on 1 July 2020 to talk about digitalisation, competition and data protection issues.

Data is playing a pivotal role in digitalisation. It can be used to offer consumers better products and services, but it can also be used to the disadvantage of competitors, when companies give preference to their own services or when dominant companies are pursuing foreclosure strategies. There is definite potential for innovation, and this should be tapped within Austria.

It makes sense to cooperate with other authorities and institutions to address current and future data challenges. This way we can use synergies, and deploy resources more efficiently. When companies become the sole keepers of certain data, they might be inclined to abuse their dominant position. The AFCA is therefore paying particular attention to this side of digitalisation. And to counter the negative consequences of any market abuse in digital markets, we need the four institutions to pull together,” explains Director General Theodor Thanner.

The four representatives discussed interfaces between competition supervision, data protection and regulation. Furthermore, RTR and AFCA introduced their joint efforts to monitor digital platforms, and ideas were exchanged about national and European developments in the fields of competition and data protection, as well as about preventive measures and possible competition advocacy projects.