back to list

BCCP Conference and Policy Forum 2016

June 17, 2016
09:15–18:00
Humboldt University Berlin Unter den Linden 6, Senatssaal 10117 Berlin
There is no registration fee but space is limited. If you would like to attend, please register here by May 27, 2016.

BCCP Conference and Policy Forum 2016

Regulatory Challenges in Digital Markets: Privacy

Big data is transforming the world we live in. The instant availability of information impacts how individuals consume, how businesses thrive or fail, how society makes scientific discoveries, as well as how governments design and implement informed policies. At a pace and scale unanticipated 20 years ago, information technology is enabling consumers globally. Uncountable services make use of a wealth of information generated largely by recording consumer actions. Privacy concerns and ways to regulate businesses handling sensitive information are now at the forefront of international policy debates. This conference highlights the benefits and challenges triggered by the big data revolution, consumer privacy concerns, as well as two important policy areas where the tremendous growth of information and analytic capabilities have had a major impact: competition policy and consumer protection. What do we know about consumers’ privacy concerns? How do firms’ incentives impact effective privacy regulation? How do competitive firms balance the provision of value to consumers using big data vs. privacy concerns? How do privacy issues influence government authorities’ work?

Conference Program

Session Preview

Session 1: Privacy Preferences in Digital Markets

Individuals value privacy, socializing, and disclosing. These conflicting actions raise important issues for individuals and regulators. This session surveys the economic foundations of privacy relying on insights from economic theory and empirical evidence. How much do consumers value privacy? Do (or should) consumers unambiguously strive for stronger privacy protection? How have businesses reacted to consumer preferences for privacy?

Alessandro Acquisti
Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
Director of the CMU Privacy Economics Experiments (Peex) Lab
Co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral and Decision Research (CBDR)

Dorothea Kübler
Director of the Research Unit Market Behavior, WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Professor of Economics, Technical University Berlin

Moderated by Botond Kőszegi (Professor, Central European University)


Session 2: Privacy Compliance: Regulation vs. Market Forces

Privacy concerns are receiving increased attention by both lawmakers and firms. What are firms doing to protect the privacy of their customers? Are firms responding to market forces? To regulatory pressure? To other forces? This panel will explore the interaction between regulation, markets and other forces, and its implications for optimal legal policy.

Florencia Marotta-Wurgler
Professor of Law, New York University
Faculty Director, NYU Law in Buenos Aires

Deirdre Mulligan
Associate Professor in the School of Information, University of California at Berkeley
Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Moderated by Oren Bar-Gill (Professor of Law, Harvard University)


Session 3: Data-driven Innovation

Unprecedented interconnectedness, data collection, and analytical capabilities are revolutionizing our interactions in society. Online platforms play a key role in this process as they shape the way consumers and firms use and commercialize the Internet. In data-driven platforms, product quality, for example search results and the targeting of advertisements, increases in the amount of data available. Search algorithms rely on consumer search behavior to learn and improve results in real-time. But can this process be considered a (demand-side) network effect or rather learning by doing as many other factors of production with diminishing returns to scale? Situations in which consumer data are pivotal have been proliferating at a rapid pace, online and offline. Far-reaching data collection is crucial for this process, yet it has evoked growing worries regarding privacy issues and potentially abusive practices by incumbent firms and government. This session examines the extent data-driven product development -for example via personalization and targeting- will benefit consumers. What are the current limits for data-driven innovation? Do data-driven platforms warrant new approaches to consumer and competition policy?

Susan Athey

The Economics of Technology Professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

Hal Varian
Chief Economist, Google

Moderated by Paul Heidhues (Professor of Economics, ESMT)


Policy Roundtable: Privacy in Competition and Consumer Policy

Privacy regulation in digital markets has been at the forefront of the policy debate on both sides of the Atlantic in the past years. This panel will discuss such issues as the EU-US Privacy Shield following the Safe Harbor ruling of the ECJ, the conditions for voluntary consumer consent to the processing of personal data, efforts to ensure individuals’ control over personal data collected by data brokers, and the role of privacy considerations in competition cases (for example, the German Cartel Office proceedings against Facebook).

Gerd Billen

State Secretary at the German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection

Julie Brill
Partner and co-Chair of Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, Hogan Lovells
Former Commissioner, US Federal Trade Commission

Paul Nemitz

Director for Fundamental Rights and Union Citizenship, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, European Commission

Moderated by Amelia Fletcher (Professor of Competition Policy, University of East Anglia)