OTTAWA — A top Bank of Canada official is warning about the risks related to the growing dominance of only a handful of big firms in the digital economy — and, more specifically, their monopoly over user data.
Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins says policy adjustments should be a priority for governments concerned about the negative economic impacts of leaving the market power of large tech companies unchecked.
In prepared remarks of Wilkins’s speech today in Montebello, Que., she says the rise of so-called superstar firms can lead to fewer jobs than those created by conventional companies and make it easier for some to avoid taxes because production isn’t tied to a fixed location.
Wilkins says the access and control of user data could easily enable companies to drive out their rivals and weaken the healthy, economic benefits of competition.
She lays out several possible solutions like modernizing anti-trust and competition policy as well as exploring data-ownership rules, such as giving users control over their own data.
In addressing a G7 symposium focused on innovation and inclusive growth, she also says more legal clarity is needed in many jurisdictions to deal with concerns over data privacy, security, intellectual property and consumer rights.
Her message on data comes as leaders in Canada’s tech community press governments to develop a plan to help the country reap the rewards and address the risks associated with the increasingly important world of big data.
A spokeswoman for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains has said there is a role for Ottawa in helping Canada become a leader in data and that discussions are underway.