Insights Competition and Markets Authority publishes summary of responses to its consultation on potential impact of algorithms on competition and consumers

In January this year, the CMA published a research paper on the potential impact of the use of algorithms from a competition and consumer perspective. The CMA says that the paper and ongoing internal and external engagement will be used to inform the work of the CMA’s Analysing Algorithms programme.

The CMA then ran a consultation from 19 January 2021 to 16 March 2021 regarding the research paper. It has now published a summary of the responses received. The CMA’s consultation sought views on the following questions:

  • Are the potential harms set out in the review paper the right ones to focus on in the CMA’s algorithms programme? Are there others that it has not covered that deserve attention?
  • Do you agree with how the CMA has described each harm, and are there other examples that demonstrate them in addition to the examples included?
  • How likely and impactful are the identified harms now, and how might they evolve in the next few years?
  • Are there specific examples that the CMA should investigate further to consider whether they are particularly harmful and potentially breaching consumer or competition law?
  • Are there any examples of techniques that the CMA should be aware of or that it should consider beyond those outlined?
  • Are there other examples where competition or consumer agencies have interrogated algorithms that have not been included?
  • Is the role of regulators in addressing the harms set out in the research paper feasible, effective and proportionate?
  • Are there other ideas or approaches that the CMA should consider as part of its role?

The CMA received 35 responses to the consultation. Most respondents agreed that the CMA had identified the right harms to focus on. Respondents noted several nuances to the harms identified, where harms were missing, and highlighted the need for legal analysis, empirical evidence, and a proportionate approach for any investigation into the harms outlined. To access the summary of responses, click here.