Regulatory Frame of Big Tech in India
We now have to reevaluate the market strength of Big Tech corporations in light of the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) decision to fine Google $1,337.76 crore for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem.
Big Tech companies are praised for their cutting-edge goods and services that help consumers, corporations, and governments greatly. They are, however, also criticised for monopolising the market and weakening democratic procedures.
To ensure a free, fair, and justifiable competitive market, it is therefore imperative that India reform its competition law.
What is Big Tech and How are they Transforming India’s Digital Space?
Several huge, globally prominent technological businesses, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, are referred to as “Big Tech.”
Instead of being a fixed collection of businesses, Big Tech is better understood as a concept. Both new businesses and ones already in this category may withdraw.
Transforming Digital Space:
They play a significant part in the fintech business, which is an appealing source of income especially due to India’s low per-user ad revenues.
Bridging the Lacuna between Infrastructure and Employment
Big Tech businesses provide voice-based and regional language interfaces to reach new people and get around literacy limitations.
Overcoming Literacy Barriers
India is better able to serve its domestic markets because of new business verticals that fill infrastructure and employment gaps by offering warehousing, delivery services, and employment possibilities.
Social and Political Progress
The majority of internet users in India rely on one or more Big Tech platforms to interact, obtain information and engage in political and social activities.
The practice of the constitutional right to free expression is likewise becoming more democratic as a result.
India’s Present Approach to Monitor Big Tech and Challenges Faced
The Competition Act, of 2002 governs antitrust matters in India, and the Competition Commission of India monitors monopolistic practices.
For instance, Google’s commercial airline search feature, which gives it a dominant position in the online search market, recently drew the attention of India’s Competition Commission.
In 2019, it was also determined that Google had abused its dominating position in the Android smartphone industry to put unjust demands on device makers.
In the Competition Amendment Bill, of 2022, the government has also suggested changes to the competition legislation.
Unrestricted Flow of Data
The data economy has changed, but we haven’t done a good job of regulating it. Sensitive information is kept on these platforms (financial records, phone location, and medical history). The ownership of the unrestricted use and transfer of this data has been claimed by large corporations.
Instead of gaining customers’ loyalty, tech oligopolies buy rival companies to establish monopolies in various business sectors. Customers are forced to use their platforms and are locked into their environment.
With their combined strength, they may also be able to influence elections and alter the political climate of a country.
The regulators can only respond when Big Tech companies evolve quickly; they cannot plan. These websites assert that they are merely middlemen and cannot be held accountable for the content they provide.
Price setting in non-digital markets is governed by market forces. But in the digital world, the big platforms mainly set the rules. On these platforms, customers are also the products. Problems are made worse by ideas like winner-takes-all and network effects, as well as gatekeeping by Big Tech companies.
Conclusion: The Way Forward
Any digital platform’s position in the market is fundamentally determined by pricing. To ensure that local vendors are on an equal footing, an ex-ante pricing mechanism must be established.
To prevent Big Tech platforms from unfairly discriminating against other firms using their platform, platform neutrality should be made a standard.
interoperability, which will expand customer options and lighten the load on AI-based algorithms.
Identifying, evaluating, and punishing harmful algorithmic amplification is the goal of algorithmic accountability.
Governments all over the world have put strict laws in place to protect users’ right to privacy by requiring tech businesses to abide by several fundamental and crucial data security and privacy procedures.
To ensure that the transfer of data outside of India does not impede domestic innovation, law enforcement, or other services, specific data protection regulations should be developed for all digital market participants. These requirements would also monitor cross-border movement.