E-Commerce in the EU: Searching for Coherence of Data Protection and Competition Law in the Context of Geo-Blocking

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Cross-border e-commerce attracts a considerable amount of legislative and enforcement attention at the European Union (“EU”) level. One impediment to online commerce is geo- blocking, a practice that consists in preventing consumers from accessing and purchasing goods or digital content based on their location information. Although tackling geo-blocking figures high on the EU agenda, particularly in the field of competition law, the question of how this market practice could be approached under data protection law has not been addressed in any substantive legal discussions. This Article undertakes to address this gap by embarking on an interpretative scrutiny of the General Data Protection Regulation, which has come into force in May 2018.

Yet, this scrutiny does not constitute an aim in itself. Rather, it is instrumental in establishing how the rules of data protection and competition law can coherently respond to the geo-blocking practice. By focusing on the concept of coherence, the analysis contributes to intensifying legal discussions in the EU related to the need to ensure “coherent enforcement” of the rules that regulate online markets. In addition to offering insights concerning geo-blocking, the Article contains theoretical reflections on the concept of coherence and its main demands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577 - 595
JournalColumbia Journal of European Law (CJEL)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 505002 Data protection
  • 505043 Competition and antitrust law

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