Briefing

Competition Bureau enforcement to target digital services and online marketing

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The antitrust watchdog’s other priority sectors for 2020–2021 are financial services and infrastructure. It’s also ramping up its own use of technology, including an automation pilot project to replace manual data entry, looking for potential uses for AI and hiring more data scientists and engineers to “advance analytics, algorithms, machine learning and data mining.” (The Logic)

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Talking point: The watchdog is increasingly focused on competition in the digital economy. In May, it struck a $9-million settlement and 10-year compliance agreement with Facebook over its privacy claims, which the bureau deemed misleading. However, its power over tech giants is limited by geography—very few are based in Canada. In June 2019, G7 competition agencies agreed to promote “greater international cooperation and convergence” in enforcing their rules. The plan released by Canada’s bureau on Monday also cites the need for closer links with foreign counterparts, and notes that its leadership of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network this year will “promote truth in online advertising and build consumer confidence in the online world.” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is seeking to give the continent more direct jurisdiction by requiring tech giants to establish European business entities, as part of a package of legislative changes.