Concealed Data Practices and Competition Law: Why Privacy Matters


Concealed Data Practices and Competition Law: Why Privacy Matters

Room 920, Level 9
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


More information

T: +61383445284

In this CLEN Discussion Group seminar Dr Katharine Kemp of UNSW Law will present her research on 'Concealed Data Practices and Competition Law: Why Privacy Matters'. Katharine argues that the degradation of consumer data privacy in the digital environment causes objective detriment to consumers and undermines the competitive process, and should therefore be of critical concern to competition law. Consumers are frequently unaware of the extent to which their personal data is collected, the purposes for which it is used, and the extent to which it is disclosed to others, particularly in digital markets. Researchers and regulators have observed that this is not simply a matter of consumer apathy, but that firms often understate and obscure their actual data practices, preventing consumers from making informed choices. Katharine’s work defines, and provides examples of, a set of “concealed data practices”. These concealed data practices create objective costs and detriments for consumers, making them more susceptible to criminal activity, discrimination, exclusion, manipulation and humiliation. She argues that these practices are not only problematic in terms of consumer protection and privacy regulation. Concealed data practices should also be of concern to competition policy due to their role in chilling competition on privacy; preserving substantial market power by means other than superior efficiency; and deepening information asymmetries and imbalances in bargaining power. Katharine has identified four ways in which these factors should be taken into account by competition authorities.

Light lunch will be provided.


  • Dr Katharine Kemp
    Dr Katharine Kemp, Senior Lecturer