Bob Baxt AO Annual Address: Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Event date:  19 October 2022

The Bob Baxt AO Annual Address for 2022 was presented by the Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies in collaboration with the Monash Data Futures Institute.

Access Rules – What To Do About Data Barons

There is severe market concentration in cyberspace.

A small number of digital superstar companies have captured much of the market. Most of these superstar companies are headquartered in the US, raising additional concerns about “digital sovereignty.” Increasing use of data-driven artificial intelligence will only exacerbate the situation.

How should policy makers respond? Some have suggested broadening the scope for antitrust and competition law. Others have pushed for new taxes targeting digital superstars. Classic industrial policy is a further suggestion.

But how effective are these measures?

In this talk Professor Mayer-Schönberger suggested that we need to get to the root cause of the problem to tackle it successfully. And this means talking about: data. Or more precisely access to it. Because data is so different to physical goods, regulatory regimes that work well for physical goods are less effective when dealing with data. But historical precedents, such as intellectual property, and recent successes of data sharing offer useful guidance for establishing a novel access regime. Professor Mayer-Schönberger addressed how this could work, and what are its key advantages and weaknesses.

About the Speaker

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger - Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, University of Oxford

Before joining Oxford in 2010, Professor Mayer-Schönberger spent a decade on the faculty at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of over a hundred publications, including the award-winning book “Delete” and the international bestseller “Big Data” (with Kenn Cukier). His most recent books are “Framers” (voted one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times) and “Access Rules.”

Professor Mayer-Schönberger studies governance mechanisms and structures of the data economy. From 2018 to 2021 he advised German chancellor Angela Merkel on data governance.