Data Could Be the Next Tech Hot Button for Regulators

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Wealth and influence in the technology business have always been about gaining the upper hand in software or the machines that software ran on.

As government regulators dig into this new era of data competition, they may find that standard antitrust arguments are not so easy to make.

Using more and more data to improve a service for users and more accurately target ads for merchants is a clear benefit, for example. And higher prices for consumers are not present with free internet services.

According to the New York Times, data gathered in those immense pools of information that are at the heart of everything from artificial intelligence to online shopping recommendations — is increasingly a focus of technology competition. And academics and some policy makers, especially in Europe, are considering whether big internet companies like Google and Facebook might use their data resources as a barrier to new entrants and innovation.

As government regulators dig into this new era of data competition, they may find that standard antitrust arguments are not so easy to make. Using more and more data to improve a service for users and more accurately target ads for merchants is a clear benefit, for example. And higher prices for consumers are not present with free internet services.

Evidence of the rising importance of data can be seen from the frontiers of artificial intelligence to mainstream business software. And certain data sets can be remarkably valuable for companies working on those technologies.

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