The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is focusing on the big data sector to prevent anti-competitive activity. “We will conduct surveys of big data firms and new-age economy companies,” said Ashok KumarGupta, chairman, CCI.
Gupta added that the CCI was trying to understand how anti-competition activities were conducted in this sector. The new-age economy includes all e-sales platforms.
Any sector where one or a few companies can try to misuse their dominant position is under the CCI scanner. This includes automobiles, health, pharmaceuticals, and cab aggregators.
The CCI chairman said the surveys would try to understand how cartels were formed and how anti-competitive actions could be checked.
Before talking to Business Standard, Gupta also spoke about this at another event on Friday.
Business practices of big-data firms have been under the government scanner in the recent past. They are also facing scrutiny abroad.
Google faced a case for exploiting its market dominance in the mobile-operating systems space in Europe, leading to a fine of €4.34 billion ($5 billion) by antitrust regulators last year.
The investigation found Google was indulging in anti-competitive activities since 2011, by forcing phone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser, together with its Google Play app store on Android devices.
The technology giant has challenged the order.
Last year, the CCI imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market and abusing its dominance to create search bias and manipulation.
The case started in 2012 when Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), a consumer organisation led by Pradeep Mehta, filed complaints against Google for abusing its dominance.
Facebook has also been embroiled in controversy over claims that it let big data firm Cambridge Analytica harvest user profiles to influence voting preferences. While it was alleged that both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition Congress were approached by Cambridge Analytica, both denied the claims.
With inputs from Neha Alawadhi