On 19 May 2021, the UK's national competition authority, the CMA, and its data protection authority, the ICO, published a joint statement on finding a balance between competition law and privacy law when approaching digital markets. The statement highlights the overlapping importance of protecting both personal data and competition in the digital markets, and more importantly looking at these issues from the point of view of the consequences that arise in practice.

The statement lays out how the CMA and the ICO will cooperate to find regulatory solutions for any tensions in the digital economy. The statement divides the "strong synergies" between the two regulators into three main categories:

  • user choice and control;
  • standards and regulations to protect privacy; and
  • data-related interventions to promote competition.

Stronger privacy protections are enabled by effective competition in the digital markets, and this is what the regulators are determined to achieve.

An updated Memorandum of Understanding signed by the CMA and the ICO supports the joint statement. It sets out how the two regulatory bodies will work together in the future, for example through information sharing.

The joint statement is a first of its kind in the world and builds on the Digital Co-operation Regulatory Framework (DRCF) workplan for 2021/22.

The full joint statement can be found here, and the Memorandum of Understanding here.

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