FEDMA’s three regulatory steps on balancing data privacy and competition

FEDMA was honoured to be invited to participate in Forum Europe’s 2021 Data Protection & Privacy Conference on 2 December 2021. FEDMA Director for Public Affairs Géraldine Proust joined the following panellists to discuss how to explore the intersection of data privacy and competition in the platform economy: 

  • Prof. Ulrich Kelber, Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Germany 
  • Pascale Déchamps, Deputy General Rapporteur, Autorité de la concurrence, France 
  • Dr. Paul Tang, Member of the European Parliament 
  • Linda Thielová, Head of Privacy CoE, DPO, OneTrust 
  • Elisabeth Dehareng, Partner, Baker McKenzie 

The speakers discussed and debated timely topics such as tailored advertising (and the ban discussed in the European Parliament), fair competition (and how the DMA would impact large gatekeepers), GDPR enforcement (or lack thereof) and much more. 

Géraldine Proust took the opportunity to reiterate the data and marketing industry’s objective at achieving a thriving environment powered by user’s trust while avoiding the EU becoming an overregulated island. We need to avoid contradictions or overlaps between legislations; and we must support self- and co-regulation tools to sustain user’s trust and contribute to a harmonized and balanced interpretation of the GDPR, especially in regard to the use of all legal basis for the processing of personal data. More specifically, Géraldine highlighted the following recommendations: 

1.FEDMA recommends transparency over a ban on targeted advertising and we welcome the Council’s general approach on the DSA in this direction.

  • Increased transparency will provide balance between privacy and competition and foster competition.
  • European SMEs would be too strongly and unevenly impacted if a ban were adopted, especially in a COVID context where online commerce has boomed.
  • To reach this transparency, FEDMA supports the EDAA programme, which educates and fosters transparency around targeted advertising.

2. FEDMA recommends a balanced and efficient implementation of the GDPR.

  • This means promoting a consistent interpretation of the GDPR across the EU, avoiding texts which overlap or contradict GDPR.
  • This means supporting legitimate interest for the processing of personal data. While consent facilitates walled gardens, legitimate interest, recognized in recital 47 of the GDPR, drives economic development in a privacy-preserving manner and drives fairer competition, especially by helping SMEs to reach out to prospects.

3. FEDMA recommends aligning future legislations on the GDPR and its risk-based approach.

ePrivacy rules on cookies and telemarketing should not provide advantages to gatekeepers over publishers or SMEs. FEDMA also support the DMA efforts to foster competition.

About Forum Europe

Debating and discussing the most pertinent and timely data privacy issues, the Data Protection & Privacy Conference is a staple in the European privacy community’s calendar, attracting more than 250 cross-sector delegates. This year’s edition focused on how Europe can re-ignite trust in digital technologies as we live in a society that is increasingly data driven.