On July 2, 2019, the ICA, the Italian Communications Authority and the Italian Data Protection Authority (jointly, the “Authorities”) issued guidelines and policy recommendations on the digital sector, and specifically on Big Data (the “Guidelines”).[1] The Guidelines are the result of a sector inquiry jointly launched by the Authorities in May 2017 and aimed at understanding the potential privacy, data protection, competition and consumer protection implications of the development of the digital and data-driven economy. The Guidelines include a set of guiding principles for the Authorities’ future actions in the digital sector (which envisage, e.g., the establishment of “permanent coordination” between the Authorities) and policy recommendations for public stakeholders. From a competition law standpoint, recommendations no. 7 and 8 are notable, i.e., (i) the ICA’s goal of tackling potential antitrust misconduct by digital platforms by using a framework of analysis which should include reference to objectives such as the quality of services, innovation and fairness; and (ii) a recommendation to public authorities to reform the current merger control system, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the ICA’s intervention in concentrations carried out in the digital sector.

[1]              See “Big Data. Indagine conoscitiva congiunta. Linee guida e raccomandazioni di policy”, July 2019, a short excerpt of which is available at: https://www. garanteprivacy.it/documents/10160/0/Big+Data.+Linee+g uida+e+raccomandazioni+di+policy.+Indagine+conoscitiva+congiunta+di+A gcom%2C+A gc m+e+Garante+privacy.pdf/563c7b0e-adb2-c26c-72ee-fe4 f 88adbe92? version=1.1.