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The economic governance of digital networks: towards an analysis of Internet markets and competition and its impacts on users' rights

Grant number: 23/16493-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2024
Effective date (End): December 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Communications
Acordo de Cooperação: MCTI/MC
Principal Investigator:César Ricardo Siqueira Bolaño
Grantee:João Paulo Silva Guimarães
Host Institution: Centro Ciências Sociais Aplicadas. Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). São Cristóvão , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/06992-1 - The economic governance of digital networks: towards an analysis of internet markets and competition and its impacts on users' rights, AP.TEM

Abstract

The research proposal aims to analyze the economic governance dynamics of digital networks in the current situation and its impacts on the rights of users from different continents by mapping and evaluating relevant market structures, competitive strategies of the main competitors and economic regulation initiatives in different countries and regional blocs. Based on the general framework, it seeks to analyze and propose economic governance measures to guarantee rights in Brazil from the perspective of the Decalogue of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.Br) and rights provided for in the current legislation.Starting from the recognition of the transnational character of digital networks, the research proposes a double cut by selecting a set of countries from different continents and also building an assessment of the Brazilian situation. To this end, the research will be developed taking into account the configuration of this market in the United States, where the main corporations in the sector originate, and China, which emerges as its main competitor. Although they do not have a central role in the definitions of this general dynamics, Brazil and Argentina will be analyzed, intending to discuss the participation of countries in the global South. The study will also address the perspective of the European Union, where theories and actions have been formulated at the governance level more attentive to issues such as the right to the protection of personal data and the establishment of antitrust measures.The universe of digital networks will be decomposed into two major groups: Internet service providers and application and content providers, taken in their own dimensions due to the specificities of each market segment. Economic governance will be analyzed through five axes: 1) Political-institutional environment: formed by normative frameworks (such as laws, decrees and regulations), public agencies and competition regulatory authorities with incidence in the specific sector and the performance of these institutions on these markets; 2) Technological trajectories of the technical solutions of the technological paradigm of digital networks that affect the market structure and competitive dynamics; 3) Market structures: understood as the manifestation of competition in a given sector, including the quantity and participation of each agent in the activities that make up this area, encompassing barriers to entry (economic-productive and political-institutional); 4) Business strategies: characterized by the conduct of agents in a given market to obtain better positions in the market competition (including competitive and anti-competitive practices); 5) The modes of insertion of countries in the global value chains and in the global processes of economic and political-institutional governance.The study is justified by the centrality of digital networks in contemporary societies and the impacts of concentration in the markets related to them, a phenomenon that mobilizes attention from the competitive sphere to elections, passing through concerns about radicalization, hate speech and disinformation. The Internet is ascending both as a relevant economic segment in itself and as a mediator of a so-called "4th Industrial Revolution". Power in digital markets, therefore, has impacts not only on these, but on growing spheres of social life, which is why concentration emerges as a widespread concern. Academics, international organizations, national authorities and civil society organizations have been focusing on the issue with a view to updating antitrust tools for new dynamics in order to guarantee competition, freedom of expression and other rights and the promotion of innovation in the provision of connection and applications and contents. Regulatory authorities are opening investigations into giants in the sector, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

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