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Top antitrust enforcer warns Big Tech over data collection

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Justice Department’s top antitrust official is warning Big Tech that the government could pursue them for anticompetitive behaviour over their collection and commercial use of massive amounts of personal data.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim likened Big Data to “the new oil” at an antitrust conference at Harvard University on Friday.

He said antitrust enforcers cannot turn a blind eye to the serious competition questions raised by digital markets.

Delrahim did not name any specific companies. His office, however, is investigating Google while the Federal Trade Commission probes Facebook.

Delrahim said some of the most alarming legal issues raised by the rise of the digital economy are in the “collection, aggregation and commercial use of consumer data,” which he calls “analogous to a new currency.”

Frank Bajak, The Associated Press