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Delisting of Apps cannot be permitted: Union Minister for IT

Why is it in the news?

  • The Union Minister for IT and Telecom has expressed concerns over the delisting of mobile applications by Google from its platform and the Android Play Store due to disputes regarding fee payments.

More about the news

  • The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has condemned this action, highlighting the issue of digital monopolies, where a few companies dominate specific domains in the digital market.
  • Startup founders have also raised concerns about the implications of digital monopolies on competition and innovation.
Threats Posed by Digital Monopolies

Anti-competitive Practices:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Examples include self-preferencing, where dominant companies prioritize their own products or services over others, and the restriction of third-party applications, limiting competition and innovation.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 An illustration of this is Apple’s control over the installation of third-party applications on iPhones, which restricts user choice and competition.

Limited Consumer Choices:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Digital monopolies often employ anti-steering provisions to prevent users from leaving their platforms and using alternatives.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Mandating the use of proprietary payment systems within app stores limits consumer choice and stifles competition.

Data Privacy and Security Concerns:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Concentration of user data in the hands of a few dominant companies poses risks such as surveillance, privacy breaches, and targeted marketing.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Lack of competition may reduce incentives for companies to prioritize robust data privacy and security measures.

Recommendations (Standing Committee on Finance Report, 2022)

Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Propose categorizing leading players in digital markets as SIDIs.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Subject them to specific ex-ante provisions to ensure fair competition and prevent monopolistic practices.

Legal and Institutional Measures:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Advocate for the enactment of a Digital Competition Act to address anti-competitive practices in the digital space.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Strengthen the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to effectively regulate and enforce competition laws in the digital sector.

Measures to Address Digital Monopolies

Competition Commission of India (CCI):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Acts as a statutory body under the Competition Act, 2002, protecting Indian markets against anti-competitive practices by enterprises.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Responsible for investigating and taking action against monopolistic behaviour in the digital market.

Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Aim to regulate e-commerce platforms and ensure the protection of consumer rights.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Provide guidelines for fair practices and transparency in digital transactions.

 

Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Intended to ensure data privacy and security in the digital realm by regulating the collection, storage, and use of personal data.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Aims to safeguard user privacy and mitigate the risks associated with data concentration in the hands of digital monopolies.

 

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