Brave Browser Wants ‘Purpose Limitation’ To Curb Anti-Competitive Behaviour

The General Data Protection Regulation is a law applicable to all European Union countries, which deals with data protection, export of all personal data and privacy of all individuals, within the EU and the European Economic Area. A core principle of this GDRP, is the purpose limitation principle which consists of two elements:

  1. Data must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes only; and
  2. Data must not be processed in any way that is not in correspondence to those purposes.

Brave Browser, which is a free, open-source browser, in a letter to the EU Anti-Trust Chief, has now described that this principle could be used to curb and in all likelihood prevent anti-competitive behaviour by Google and Facebook. The letter highlights how this purpose limitation principle could be the key to an equal chance for all firms, in today’s world of digitization.

Brave Browser CEO, Brendan Eich is known for advocating the adoption of the EU policy of GDPR, by the US Senate. A part of the letter, signed by the Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer Dr Johnny Ryan reads,

“Purpose limitation principle protects a person’s opportunity to choose to opt-in to whatever particular service they decide, and forbids a company from automatically opt-ing a person into all of its services where this entails data processing purposes that go beyond what the person has already opted-in to. Provided that purpose limitation is enforced, it prevents dominant digital players from automatically leveraging personal data that they have collected for one purpose in one business in another business, to the disadvantage of competitors and new entrants.”

Dr Ryan further says that Google and Facebook currently are enjoying concentrated data power, which they often use as leverage. However, this principle if enforced correctly generally limits the collection of data on one end of the business and using it elsewhere. This habit, no doubt benefits market giants but is grossly unfair for smaller companies and startups have to bear the brunt of it, in order to gain market share. He further elaborates in the letter,

“Facebook would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests … and Google would have to seek consent for the various data processing purposes appropriate to its various business interests.”

He also talks about how Purpose Limitation has positive implications for smaller companies, as it creates a fair, just platform with a healthy competition, where the consumers too do have to have things decided for them but can take their own decisions.