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Germany: Competition advisory group wants stricter surveillance of online pricing algorithms

 |  July 4, 2018

Germany’s Monopoly Commission, an independent advisory panel for the German government, has called for stricter surveillance of online markets that make use of algorithm-based pricing and new measures to crack down on price formation online in its 2018 flagship repotr, reported telecompapert.

The commission called for cartel authorities to more strongly make use of sector inquiries to uncover “undesirable competitive developments” in markets that use price-based algorithms, given that consumers often bear the burden of excessive prices as a result. Cartel authorities should most closely observe markets that incline towards coordinated pricing and collect information from firms via these inquiries, while consumer organizations could also be granted the right to initiate sector inquiries by cartel authorities.

Regulations for various types of audio-visual media services, including streaming services like Netflix and broadcasters, should also be harmonized as a result of consumers’ evolving media consumption habits, said the commission. This should include the introduction of unified rules for consumer and youth protection as well as harmonized advertising regulations, with restrictions on commercials for traditional television lifted. Online offering of public broadcasters should be restricted to “socially and culturally relevant content” not sufficiently offered by private broadcasters, said the commission.

Full Content: Telecompaper

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