The Scott Morton Affair: Anatomy of a Democratic Victory

July 26, 2023 Fiona Scott Morton's decision not to take up the EU Chief Competition Economist post is a victory for democracy

The latest edition of The Counterbalance looks at Fiona Scott Morton’s decision not to take up the EU Chief Competition Economist post, after a major political storm that focused (eventually) on her extensive conflicts of interest and closeness to Big Tech firms, and her rather pro-monopoly world view.

Read it here, and please subscribe too. (We publish roughly once a month, so you won’t get deluged.)

This edition is full of good news, including some major and welcome changes in the regulatory world in different countries. In this blog, we will merely reproduce a section of the endnotes, highlighting latest activity in our network.

The last edition of The Counterbalance contained bumper crop of news from our network; we have some brief network updates since then:

Call for Papers: Digital Markets Act

The Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, the Hertie School Centre for Digital Governance, the University of Trento, and free speech organization ARTICLE 19, are organising a call for papers and a two-day symposium, to stimulate research and debate on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), especially on crucial themes that have been overlooked.

Templates for gatekeeper compliance

Some of us came together to urge the European Commission to sharpen its template for “gatekeeper” platforms to comply with the DMA. With sloppy drafting, the giants will run rings around the enforcers.

Irish regulator in court over massive Google data breach

Not strictly a network activity, but still. On Thursday, 27 July, the Irish High Court will hear a case taken by our allies at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) against the Data Protection Commission (DPC). ICCL alleges that the DPC has failed to protect people against the biggest data breach ever recorded: Google’s “Real-Time Bidding” online advertising system. (See also Ireland’s privacy regulator is a gamekeeper-turned-poacher, Cory Doctorow.)

EC to investigate Amazon-iRobot

On 6 July, the European Commission announced an in-depth investigation into Amazon’s plans to buy home robotics company, iRobot. This follows concerns raised by SOMO, Foxglove, the Balanced Economy Project and the Open Markets Institute in February to investigate the deal, as it would put new Amazon eyes inside our homes and, yet again, entrench its market dominance.

Pushback against Canadian bank merger

Our allies at the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project have asked the Department of Finance not to allow the banks RBC and HSBC Canada to merge.