April 15, 2021
Is Interoperability Needed to Address Antitrust Concerns?
Proponents of interoperability — the ability for tech platforms to communicate and exchange information between each other — claim that mandating it could be a solution to competition concerns in the digital economy. But such an approach could negatively impact market competition and consumers’ privacy and control over their data, argues AAF’s Technology and Innovation Policy Analyst Juan Londoño in a new analysis. Londoño concludes that a mandate might create more problems than solutions.
Advocates of an interoperability mandate claim it would provide a “surgical approach” to boosting competition, but its implementation would also come with various risks that are often overlooked. When taking into account the current non-mandated implementation of interoperability and the reality of competition in the digital marketplace, a mandate would be a solution in search of a problem. This approach could put consumers into a digital straitjacket of sorts, subjecting them to government-defined protocols, and requiring their data be shared with platforms without their consent. Considering the existence of private interoperability initiatives such as the Data Transfer Project, an interoperability mandate would create myriad unnecessary risks.