Brave Browser has described how a core principle of GDPR called “Purpose Limitation” can be used to prevent anti-competitive behavior by Google and Facebook.
In a recent letter to the EU Anti-Trust Chief Margrethe Vestager, the company offered its submission on the topic of shaping competition policy in the era of digitization.
PURPOSE LIMITATION TO CURB GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK’S EXCESSES
It will be recalled that Brave Browser CEO Brendan Eich has repeatedly called for the US Senate to adopt the EU regulatory policy system called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the letter, signed by Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer, Dr. Johnny Ryan, the company points out the importance of having the purpose limitation aspect of the GDPR in the world of digitization to allow for a level playing field for all technological firms and curb the noncompetitive tendencies of other tech firms.
An excerpt from the letter reads:
“Purpose limitation principle protects a person’s opportunity to choose to opt-in to whatever particular service they decide, and forbids a company from automatically opt-ing a person in to all of its services where this entails data processing purposes that go beyond what the person has already opted-in to. Provided that purpose limitation is enforced, it prevents dominant digital players from automatically leveraging personal data that they have collected for one purpose in one business in another business, to the disadvantage of competitors and new entrants.”
Implications for Giants and Smaller Firms
According to Dr. Ryan, Google and Facebook currently enjoy concentrated data power, and they exploit their position to engage in offensive leveraging. Without any change in regulatory position he says, it is likely that their so far uninterrupted success doing so will become a model to be emulated.
In contrast, however, the Purpose Limitation aspect of GDPR, when appropriately enforced places limitations on dominant platforms like Facebook and Google which prevent them from collecting data at one end of their business and using it on the other. This type of data collection dramatically benefits entrenched companies and throws an obstacle in the way of startups which are attempting to gain market share.
Referencing the impact of Purpose Limitation, he states in his letter:
“Facebook would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests … and Google would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests.”
He also points out that Purpose Limitation has positive economic implications for smaller companies like his own by creating a competitive platform for all tech firms. In his view, it also allows the consumers, the power to decide and not have things being decided for them.