The German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) published the final report of its market inquiry on messaging and video services. The study focused in particular on data protection and data security issues and examined in depth the technical and legal framework conditions for messaging and video services.
As part of the sector investigation, the Competition Authority found that some services, particularly those that are important for users, are likely to breach consumer law provisions. The first of these services is synchronization of the contact list. According to the Competition Authority, the continuous use of this practice may infringe the GDPR because it leads to the collection of data of users who have not yet registered with the relevant application. Another service considered risky is messaging and video services. The Competition Authority found that such services were not designed in accordance with the law. Accordingly, the law does not specifically allow data to be transferred to and stored in the US and, as such, European consumers' personal data should only be transferred to and stored in countries where the level of data protection complies with the European GDPR law. Finally, the Competition Authority pointed out that, according to the German Act against Unfair Competition (UWG), consumers must be informed about how the security of their communications is ensured.
In conclusion, as a result of its sector review, the German Competition Authority concluded that there are flaws in the current implementation of many services and that these should be improved within the framework of the law.
(Bundeskartellamt – 17.05.2023)
NAZALI TAX & LEGAL