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Enforcing Data Portability in the Context of EU Competition Law and the GDPR


Banda,  Carolina
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Banda, C. (2018). Enforcing Data Portability in the Context of EU Competition Law and the GDPR. MIPLC Master Thesis Series (2016/17).

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018, one of its most controversial features will be the Right to Data Portability (RDP) introduced in Article 20. The RDP empowers individuals not only to obtain a copy of their information but also to transfer that data from one undertaking to another. Thus, the RDP contains two elements: consumer empowerment through data autonomy and increased data mobility which enhances competition. However, it remains unclear to what extent the RDP may actually help to resolve issues pertaining to lock-in effects in data-driven markets characterised by strong networks effects, barriers to entry and switching costs. This thesis analyses the characteristics of the RDP in comparison with the legal framework of the EU competition law. It presents several scenarios where the pro-competitive characteristics of the RDP may be helpful for competition matters. By contrast, this research also analyses the limitations of the RDP concerning several issues such as technical feasibility and interoperability. Consequently, we suggest that the RDP should be applied carefully, only in certain cases and sectors where the risk of abuse of dominance and entry barriers are high. Otherwise, the RDP may have an adverse effect for users, businesses and innovation.