‘Data-opolies’, Public Interests and EU Competition Law: current state of affairs and the way forward

While private actors can have an important role on the safeguarding of public interests, they can also have negative effects on their attainment. With the arising of big-tech firms and their platforms, the market seems to have gained powers that were previously placed on the state. Specifically, the so-labelled ‘data-opolies’ have a big impact on public interest concerns (privacy, influence on the democratic process, etc.).
This paper analyses the current state of affairs regarding the role of EU competition law in protecting such public interest concerns. While EU competition law is concerned with the negative effects of market power, it is focused on economic efficiency and generally disregards non-economic interests. The debate on whether EU competition law can have a role on the protection of non-economic interests threatened by the power of big-tech companies is a heated discussion. This paper discusses the latest advances in the EU in this regard and the way forward.