The Digital monopolies are often accused of posing a threat to the fundamental fabric of market competition. In this context examine the effectiveness of the regulatory Framework in India to deal with digital monopolies.

The digital monopolies denote the collectivity of a few digital cooperation who have come to establish a global hegemony over the world’s digital space. E.g. Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.

Threat to market competition:

  • Unfair use of market share – Google’s android devices have pre-installed features.
  • Aggressive acquisition strategy – Facebook acquired WhatsApp, Instagram.
  • Creating closed ecosystems – Apple operates only on iOS.
  • Denying the right to repair – launch of newer devices obliterates existing devices.
  • Non-transparent self-regulation – Trump was banned from Twitter but not others for hate speech.
  • Harming public interest for own self interest.

Effectiveness of current regulations:

  • New IT rules mandate compliance in terms of self Regulation and taking off objectionable content within stipulated timelines.
  • Mandate on permanent and responsive grievance redressal officer.
  • CCI has provisions to check anti-competition practices and prevent monopolization.
  • Safeguards available to citizens against publishing of obscene pictures.
  • Compliance in data sharing for enforcement of law and order.

Gaps which remain:

  • Weak enforcement – data storage and localisation not complied till date.
  • Overlapping jurisdiction with other countries.
  • Policy lacunae – only peripheral issues have been addressed.
  • Lack of alternatives – monopolies has curated systematic dependency across economy.
  • Use of policies for political ends.

Thus, we can see while regulations exist to check digital monopolies, a lot needs to be done to create a free and competitive digital market.

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