The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli, recently issued an opinion where he announced his intention to assist with the establishment of a Digital Clearing House to promote coherent enforcement of EU rules by national European regulatory authorities, specifically competition authorities and data protection authorities.
The EDPS previously issued an opinion on the same subject matter in March 2014 where he had reviewed the EU legal frameworks for data protection and competition and concluded that digital markets presented potential synergies between regulators.
In the new opinion, the EDPS notes some instances where co-operation between authorities at national level has resulted in the imposition of fines by the national competition authority. One such example saw the Belgian competition authority impose a fine on the Belgian National Lottery for using personal data acquired in the context of its monopoly activities (i.e. the organisation of public lotteries) to market to consumers in the adjacent market of sports betting. This was considered to be an abuse of its dominant position.
The EDPS commented that where mergers determined under the European Merger Regulation impact on the personal data of individuals, those individuals may benefit from a coordinated response from competition and data protection authorities to ensure data protection rights are safeguarded.
The opinion concludes by proposing that a Digital Clearing House be established which would facilitate communication between regulatory authorities responsible for regulation of the digital sector at both a national and EU level to enhance enforcement activities.