A552 - Italian Competition Authority, investigation opened against Google for abuse of dominant position in data portability
According to the Italian Competition Authority, Google allegedly hindered interoperability in sharing individuals’ data with other platforms, and particularly with the Weople APP, operated by Hoda, an operator active in Italy that has developed an innovative data investment bank
The Italian Competition Authority has launched an investigation against Google for a possible abuse of dominant position in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Alphabet/Google group holds a dominant position in several markets that allow it to extract large amounts of data through the services it provides (Gmail, Google Maps, Android) and in 2021 had revenues of $257.6 billion.
In particular, Google allegedly hindered interoperability in sharing data on its platform with other platforms and, in particular, with the Weople APP, operated by Hoda, an operator active in Italy that has developed an innovative data investment bank.
In the Authority's view, Google's conduct could compress the right to portability of personal data, established by Article 20 of the GDPR, and could constrain the economic benefits that consumers can derive from their data. At the same time, the alleged abuse could restrict competition because it limits the ability of alternative operators to develop innovative data-based services.
In particular, Hoda represented to the Authority the negative effects of Google's conduct on its initiative to enhance personal data with the consent of the data owner, which offers innovative opportunities to use such data.
Data portability, insofar as it facilitates data circulation and users’ mobility, offers alternative operators the opportunity to exert competitive pressure on companies such as Google, which have established their dominance on the creation of ecosystems based on the management of virtually unlimited amounts of data, functional only to their own business model. Moreover, the right to portability, if accompanied by effective interoperability mechanisms, can offer users the opportunity to achieve the maximum economic potential from the use of personal data, also through modes of exploitation that are different from those currently practiced by the dominant operator.
Yesterday the Authority conducted inspections at Google's premises, in cooperation with the Italian Guardia di Finanza.
Rome, 14 July 2022