EPIC Urges DOJ, FTC to Consider Data Protection and Consumer Privacy in Merger Guidelines
September 18, 2023
In comments to the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, EPIC encouraged the agencies to include data protection and consumer privacy as factors in the newest Merger Guidelines. The DOJ and FTC recently sought public input on their draft Merger Guidelines, which will supersede existing guidelines to better reflect market realities in the modern economy. EPIC’s comments explain that, in our data-driven economy, businesses’ mass accumulation of personal data can have anticompetitive effects that further undermine consumer privacy and data security. Mergers frequently involve the consolidation of data sets, which “can entrench a firm’s dominant market position, raise barriers to entry for new and smaller firms, and exacerbate the effects of harmful consumer data practices.” To promote competition and protect consumer privacy, EPIC urged the DOJ and FTC require that data consolidation and consumer privacy be considered in the review of future mergers.
For more than twenty years, EPIC has encouraged the FTC to weigh consumer privacy in the merger review process between companies that engage in data collection. EPIC has continued to argue that acquisitions by these types of dominant firms can lead to a reduction in both competition and privacy protection.