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The German Antitrust Authority’s sector inquiry into Smart TV-s

Updated: Feb 14, 2018

Much like the French and Dutch Data protection authorities (DPAs) investigations into Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft data handling practices [see my briefs], Bundeskartellamt, the German antitrust authority, has turned its focus on companies’ terms and conditions with their customers. They recently entered into Phase II with Facebook, which concerns the potential abuse of dominant power (similar to US anti-monopoly cases). Bundeskartellamt also announced in December 2017 that it will conduct a sector inquiry into Smart TVs and their general terms and conditions. The German authority believes that because of the way Smart TV producers and proprietors handle consumer data, they may be hurting customers in the ever-growing connectedness of things in private life, as it touches on the issue of customers knowingly and unknowingly disclosing personal data.


This case is a red flag for companies that produce and sell data collecting home appliances. Their gadgets form part of a Smart “something” market, which collects/handles/processes/sells consumer data. Such companies should be aware that their general terms and conditions are subject to antitrust and data protection scrutiny. Such products should be fully customer friendly. Companies should be aware that their partners must also behave according to the law.





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