ANDREY TSYGANOV: SUPPRESSING DIGITAL FORMS OF VIOLATIONS IS A NEW CHALLENGE IN ANTIMONOPOLY REGULATION
Deputy Head of FAS discussed algorithms and antimonopoly enforcement at a Competition Forum in Seoul
On 13 September 2018, Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov was a speaker at the 10th Seoul Competition Forum with a report about “Algorithms and antimonopoly enforcement”.
According to the speaker, to increase their market competitiveness, many companies employ the latest tools of digital economy. Algorithms that analyze competitors’ prices and determine the market trends are firmly in the routine practice of economic entities. New types of anticompetitive agreements concluded without human participation are a modern reality. At the same time, these tools – algorithms – simply create new forms of restricted practice, the essence of antimonopoly violations and their consequences for the economy and consumers do not change.
“Using algorithms that affect the conduct of other market players forcing them to reject competition is certainly a violation”, emphasized Andrey Tsyganov.
As pointed out by Deputy Head of FAS, to ensure efficient antimonopoly enforcement, the legislators must go beyond considering traditional forms of restricted business practices.
FAS is already working on experiences of using digital technologies in antimonopoly practice.
“We are developing tools for exposing violations, particularly, “digital cartels”, and establishing the standards to prove them. Distance technology for exposing bid-rigging cartels is developed and is now employed successfully, when specialized software is used to analyze any tenders and auctions in Russia. Using this method, FAS has already exposed more than 90 bid-rigging cartels”, informed Andrey Tsyganov.
Deputy Head of FAS added that efficient control in the digital economy requires adjustment of the law: “Suppressing new forms of violations is a challenge in antimonopoly regulation. Competition authorities must neutralize advanced technologies used by cartel members with modern methods of collecting and analyzing information and proving violations. Reforming the law seems necessary”.
Andrey Tsyganov outlined FAS practice and initiatives in the digital economy, its efforts to counter cartels and ensure efficiency of competition enforcement. FAS is involved in the National digital economy project. FAS also formed a Working group on digital economy and the Expert Council on informatisation, drafted amendments to the Law on competition; the President of the Russian Federation approved the National Competition Development Plan. FAS has also drafted a Toolkit for intensifying international cooperation between antimonopoly bodies of different countries.