KIIT Centre for Studies in Business and Corporate Law Conducts Webinar on “Big Tech and Competition Law – Contemporary Issues”

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KIIT Centre for Studies in Business and Corporate Law (KCBCL), School of Law conducted a webinar on “Big Tech and Competition Law – Contemporary Issues” on Zoom platform on 30th May, 2021. It was graced by Ms. Soumya Hariharan, Partner (Competition Law), Trilegal. Prof. (Dr.) Bhavani Prasad Panda, Director, KIIT School of Law & Chairperson, KCBCL welcomed Ms. Hariharan, faculty members, students and other participants. He motivated and encouraged the students during the current pandemic situation.

Speaking on the topic, Ms. Hariharan explained the basic principles of competition law, its evolution in India and regulators like CCI. Highlighting the importance of Big Tech, she said, they are dominant in their respective sectors and everyone has high dependency on them. They have the ability to expand to new markets and offer additional services during the pandemic situation, she stated. Sharing infographics to show the comparison of revenue of some selected companies in the year 2019 vs. 2020, she showed that GAFAM has shrugged off the Covid-19 crisis. Further, the pandemic has cemented their market shares and helped them become bigger in terms of revenue growth, she stated.

Ms. Hariharan described how the Big Tech companies got to the position where they are now and their growing dominance. The case of Facebook acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp was also discussed. Coming to the competition law issues concerning the Big Tech, she discussed their access to an extraordinary amount of personal data, predatory pricing, ability to bundle different products, etc. She also explained the updated terms of service and privacy policy of WhatsApp. Lastly, Ms. Hariharan emphasized on the ambit of the privacy matter and its impact on the competition laws in India, and also the regulatory efforts taken by India, US and EU, when it comes to anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

The Q&A round was conducted by Prof. Amrit Subhadarshi, Assistant Professor, KIIT School of Law & Faculty Member (KCBCL). The questions were raised by students, faculties and practitioners from procedural aspects of data protection which were summed up and answered by the speaker. The insights from the session encouraged the students to delve deep and develop in these various research gaps in the field.

The session was summed up by Ms. Nidhi Singh, Member Advisory Board (KCBCL) & Panel Counsel, Delhi High Court. She laid focus on the various development and jurisdictional aspects of the competition laws including India, US & EU and how they belong more to the developed countries. Besides, she talked about the hierarchy of the Competition Commission of India and the Director General of India.

The session concluded with the vote of thanks by Mrs. Ipsita Das, Faculty Coordinator, KCBCL. Mudit Mandhana, Student Member-4th Year (KCBCL); Deyasini Chakrabati, Student Member – 4th Year (KCBCL); and Apurba Pattanayak, Student Member- 3rd  Year (KCBCL) were the Rapporteurs for the webinar. As many as 171 participants participated. 

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