The Bundeskartellamt has submitted an interim report of its investigation into messenger and video services. The main question is whether legislators and authorities should ensure that communication across the various providers is possible.
The Bundeskartellamt has informed about its investigation of the market for messenger and video services. Subject of “Messenger and video services sector inquiry“are applications like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and iMessage, Google Meet, TeamViewer, Threema, Skype and Microsoft Teams, Slack, WebEx and Zoom, but also free open source apps like BigBlueButton, Jabber and Jitsi Meet.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, referred to the “enormous boom” that messenger and video services had experienced during the pandemic. “At the same time, many consumers have concerns about the security and protection of their personal data.” The Federal Cartel Office is now investigating whether and to what extent data protection and consumer rights are actually being violated. In addition, his authority is investigating the specific effects of uncomplicated communication across the various services, if the interoperability that is often required were given.
The Bundeskartellamt plans to present a final report with specific recommendations for action next year. The competition authority is working with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) on the investigation. In a BSI paper that was published parallel to the interim report, the office basically discusses the functionality as well as the security requirements and properties of modern messengers. However, the BSI did not carry out a specific comparison test of the different apps. (dpa / pma)