Powerful Private Players in the Digital Economy: Between Private Law Freedoms and the Constitutional Principle of Equality

In: Baltic Yearbook of International Law Online
Peter Rott
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The digital economy has been driven by countless start-up companies but also by extremely powerful players such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, or Paypal. They have not only accumulated a significant if not dominant position in their relevant markets but they have also gained enormous relevance for the economic and social relationships of individual citizens or consumers, and even traders and politicians. At the same time, citizens are at risk of being denied access to their services, or of having to pay individualized prices, due to their personal circumstances or their shopping or credit history. This article shows that traditional concepts of contract law and also data protection law offer little help to these citizens. It therefore explores the application of the fundamental right to equality to powerful digital players and the legal consequences of such application, including the right not to be subjected to arbitrariness and the right to be given reasons for decisions.

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