The Indian parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its report ‘Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech Companies’ has identified 10 practices by the Big Tech companies which create unfair conditions for smaller businesses in a digital market. Anti-steering, which essentially means restricting access to third-party apps on their platforms, deep discounting, self-preferencing in online listings, exploiting personal data for advertising and unchecked acquisitions among others are the key issues highlighted by the panel. The Committee recommends defining leading digital firms as ‘Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries’ (SIDIs) or gatekeepers and subject them to ex-ante regulations to curb anti-competitive practices in Indian digital markets. Here are the ten don’ts for the SIDIs recommended by the Committee: A SIDI should not condition access to its platform for third-party apps or assign preferred status or placement for its own apps when users use products or services which are not intrinsic to its platform. When it comes to listing companies on digital platforms, a SIDI must not favour its own offers over the offers of its competitors and refrain from pre-installing its own offers on devices. A SIDI should not force business users or end users to subscribe to or sign in for its additional services as a condition for accessing any of the platform’s core services. SIDIs should not indulge in processing, combining or cross-using personal data of end users accessing third-party services or those using platform’s core services for online advertising services. It must also refrain from compelling users to sign in for additional…
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