Information and Intermediation, Abuse of Dominance and Internet ‘Neutrality’: ‘Updating’ Competition Policy under the Digital Single Market and the Google Investigations(?)
The focus of the present article is on the issue of information and information intermediation in the internet environment, and its implications for competition policy. The analysis concentrates on the value and necessity of information in the internet-marketplace and on the position, use, and involvement of internet intermediaries in conduct which concerns the availability, manipulation, and diffusion of that information. This discussion is triggered by, and thereby concentrates upon, the EU Commission’s Communication on the Digital Single Market and the recent Google investigations. Inevitably, the direction taken focuses on the principle of ‘net neutrality’ (as encompassed in the Communication), as this arguably appears to emerge (and gradually becoming incorporated) in the area of European competition policy for the internet and the associated issues of freedom and availability of information. The main argument advanced is that given this opportunity for attaining the ‘Digital Single Market’ and in light of the Google investigations, the Commission could appear to be ‘updating’ its analysis in its proposed agenda, evolving into an ‘update’ of competition policy particularly for the internet environment, that focuses on information and its ‘neutral’ treatment.