Regulating Big Tech? Transnational Perspectives on Privacy, Antitrust and Consumer Protection

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The digital revolution harbors both, opportunities and challenges for innovation, democracy, and technology governance. The rise of digital platforms such as GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) has disrupted old business models, while simultaneously creating opportunities for new models and industry players.

The European Union has responded to these challenges by enacting regulations which aim at protecting fundamental rights, enabling a digital single market, and counteracting power asymmetries. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has gained worldwide attention. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) seems to point in the same direction. Does the US need a federal privacy law?

Competition and antitrust law is another area of regulatory intervention. The European Commission’s antitrust cases on Google and others have taken a strong stance against the market dominance abuses. The FTC is also pursuing several cases and has fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations. Novel legal approaches to include the value of data aggregation in competition law enforcement are being developed.

This panel discussion will explore how antitrust, consumer welfare and data protection authorities may join forces to facilitate a ‘race to the top’ on privacy standards, proper functioning of the market, and public welfare.

Welcoming Remarks

Andreas Götze, PhD
Deputy Consul General , German Consulate General Chicago


Laura Pedraza-Fariña, PhD, JD
Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern University, Chicago

Marc Rotenberg, JD, LLM
President and Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Washington, DC
Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Ingrid Schneider, PhD
Professor for Political Science, Centre for Ethics in Information Technologies, Universität Hamburg, Germany

James B. Speta, JD
Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law, Vice Dean of the Pritzker School of Law, Northwestern University, Chicago


Matthew Kugler, PhD, JD
Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern University, Chicago

Event Information

October 14, 2019, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Chicago, IL
Organizer(s): Universität Hamburg, Northwestern University, German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York


The panel will be preceded by an internal workshop during which students from Northwestern University will work together with experts on research question relating to issues being presented and discussed on the panel.

If you are a student at Northwestern and would like to participate in the workshop, please contact Mr. Frömming for more details.


Arthur Rubloff Building

Address: Northwestern University Arthur Rubloff Building, Room 140 375 East Chicago Avenue Chicago, IL 60611