In March 2017, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy introduced the Digital Platforms White Book as the basis for specific regulations. A summary of the White Book is available here.

For quite some time now, a “level playing field” has been urged between messenger services, OTT services, and classic telecommunications services. Implementation deficiencies related to consumer protection need to be eliminated. The legal prosecution by individuals is frequently inefficient, but significant damage is incurred on a whole. Authorities could observe online markets and sanction violations against the Act on Unfair Competition and the law on General Terms and Conditions. Antitrust law has to be better adjusted to these markets, also with regard to merger controls. A current question is whether a market-dominant position could possibly exist by collecting personal data.

Companies should pay attention to these developments. Relevant changes in law could have far-reaching effects on digital commerce.