DOJ to hire more data experts to examine digital monopolies, antitrust chief says | CNN Business
The Justice Department will expand its panel of data experts tasked with analyzing how companies use and abuse consumer data to violate US antitrust law, the agency’s head told CNN in an interview on stage Monday.
The DOJ’s antitrust division plans to release additional job listings for data scientists and analysts, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said at a conference in Washington.
Under Kanter, the division has already hired technologists and a chief economist with backgrounds in computer science and machine learning. The push to recruit even more tech experts highlights concerns about how companies can use data and algorithms to target consumers with highly personalized offers, recommendations and information that can cement a company’s dominance.
“One of the things that we face in any market that we address today,” Kanter told CNN, “whether it’s healthcare, energy, consumer tech, enterprise tech and everything in between, the importance of data it’s so important, so substantial that We need to understand at an expert level how this data is used, how it affects the economy, how it affects the potential for dumping, ditching and other competitive dynamics.”
Kanter suggested that future antitrust enforcement may focus on so-called “dark patterns,” or design decisions a company makes on its website or product to sway consumers to make the company’s preferred choice, such as agreeing to give up your personal information.
Dark patterns are a reflection of the enormous amounts of personal information being generated, collected, exchanged and stored in the digital economy, Kanter added, and can help cement a monopoly position. company or allow it to extract monopoly profits.
“It’s critical that we understand the good, the bad, and sometimes the milkiness of how dark patterns or personalized targeting can influence how consumers respond, when they respond, and to what extent they can benefit from the competition ” Kanter said. “Many of the assumptions have been that consumers can discipline bad behavior [of a company] changing But if consumers don’t switch as easily as they used to, or if consumers are pushed in one direction or another, that’s a market reality that we have to understand.”