November 10, 2020 – Today, the European Commission filed antitrust charges against Amazon for competing unfairly with sellers on its marketplace. The Commission has also opened a second formal antitrust investigation into the company’s “possible preferential treatment” of its own retail offers and sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services. The move follows reports of Amazon using third-party seller data to develop competing products, as well as the Justice Department’s antitrust suit against Google.

Public Knowledge’s Senior Vice President, Harold Feld, recently outlined ways Congress can prevent Amazon from using proprietary seller data collected for one purpose to instead “privilege themselves at the expense of the vendor.” In “Mind Your Own Business: Protecting Proprietary Third-Party Information from Digital Platforms,” Feld analyzes the competition problem, explains why the market will not find a solution without policy intervention, and offers a model statute ready for Congress’ immediate approval. Finally, the paper urges Congress to establish a digital platform regulator to curb anticompetitive behavior.

The following can be attributed to Alex Petros, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The European Commission should be applauded for its strong action on behalf of consumers. Public Knowledge has raised the alarm over Amazon’s misuse of third-party data — the exact behavior Amazon has been accused of here. American policymakers should look to the Commission as a model for aggressively working to address these serious concerns. If Amazon wants to be both a marketplace and a retailer, then it can’t use the business-necessary data from its marketplace role to prop up its retail offerings. Congress can prevent this behavior by any company today by enacting our model statute and by creating a digital regulator to provide oversight for platform markets like Amazon’s.”

You may read our latest blog post, “An Ounce of Preventive Regulation is Worth a Pound of Antitrust Enforcement: The Case for Platform CPNI,” for more information, or view the full paper.

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