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CCI chief seeks new analytical tools; says algorithmic collusion poses challenges

    Ravneet Kaur, Chairman, Competition Commission of India (CCI). document.

Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chairman Ravneet Kaur. document. | Photo credit: ANI

To address the competitive challenges posed by the digital market, CCI Chairman Ravneet Kaur on May 20 proposed regulatory agility, new analytical tools and a possible novel regulatory framework specifically for the digital environment.

She stressed the need for a nuanced approach that combines traditional competitive analysis with a deep understanding of digital market dynamics, but said issues such as “algorithmic collusion” presented new challenges for regulators.

The regulator has been taking steps to address anti-competitive issues in digital markets and has passed various orders in recent years.

CCI will conduct artificial intelligence (AI) market research aimed at gaining insights into emerging competitive dynamics in the AI ​​development ecosystem.

She believes that the transformative power of artificial intelligence has significant potential to promote competition. At the same time, the use of artificial intelligence may raise competition issues.

She said in her speech: “Authorities are increasingly considering the wider impact of new-age business practices on consumer choice, innovation and overall market health, beyond just price impacts. This consumer-centric approach ensures The benefits of competition directly benefit the public.

In addition, Kaul said regulatory flexibility, the development of new analytical tools and possibly novel regulatory frameworks specifically tailored to the digital environment will be needed.

She said that while algorithms play a central role in digital markets, from shaping user experiences to making pricing and product placement decisions, the opacity of these algorithms makes it challenging to assess their impact on competition.

“Issues such as algorithmic collusion, where algorithms may implicitly coordinate prices or market strategies without explicit human guidance, pose new challenges to competition authorities,” the CCI chief said.

The CCI chief pointed out that companies that can collect, analyze and utilize large amounts of data can gain significant competitive advantage.

“This raises concerns about data dominance,” she said, adding that control over large data sets could create insurmountable barriers to entry for newcomers and could be used in ways that harm competition and consumer choice. Said that many digital marketplaces are characterized by platform business models in which a single entity controls access to a wide range of services and users.

This concern raises questions about platform neutrality, especially when platforms also compete with businesses that rely on their infrastructure. “There are growing concerns that platforms may favor their own services or products over those of their competitors, leading to unfair competitive practices,” Kaul said.

Regarding the vision, Kaul said the regulator is focusing on emerging areas of the digital economy, with the goal of ensuring that competition law enforcement evolves in step with these innovations, safeguarding consumer interests and ensuring fair competition.

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