The European Union is a step closer to establishing the Digital Services Act, which aims to regulate internet giants and provide a more secure space for users. The European Union seemingly favours this proposition and is currently seeking to fine line the details before the Digital Services Act becomes a law.
The Digital Services Act proposal is set to spur a new era in digital regulation. Digital services play a critical part in our lives now more than ever. We utilize websites, social networking, e-books, cloud-based storage, and music and video streaming daily.
In December 2020, the European Commission suggested a new legislative framework to address issues such as the selling of counterfeit products, the propagation of hate speech, cyber threats, and the stifling of competition and market dominance.
Once adopted, the DSA will redefine the rules for online content, services and product offerings in the EU.
Building on the European Union’s eCommerce Directive, the main premise behind this proposal is that what is unlawful in the physical world should also be illegal in the virtual world. Once implemented, it attempts to establish a more secure online environment.
Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba who invested much of his time contributing to the Digital Services Act, insists that the Digital Services Act (DSA) should empower people to take back control of the Internet, on the kind of online content they wish to read, watch and share.
“The time has come to be ambitious and to create a safer and healthier digital environment. The DSA is one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve this and will set a gold standard in regulating big tech and addressing everything from: user safety; consumer protection; targeted advertisement; surveillance of users; transparency; and accountability, as well as to end tech giants’ ability to gain from the digital economy for their dividends.”
– Alex Agius Saliba.
The DSA permits individuals control over what they view online. It is intended to control targeted advertising, among other things, and to compel platforms to delete damaging and unlawful information. It will target online hate speech, disinformation, and counterfeit products. If platforms fail to respond, they will incur sanctions. The DSA is a critical step towards ensuring that European digital businesses can readily access new clients and compete on a global scale.
Which providers will be impacted by the Digital Services Act?
The proposed regulation would impact platforms and online intermediaries that are utilized daily by hundreds of millions of Europeans. They include popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, app stores, video and music sharing platforms such as YouTube and Spotify, and online travel services such as Airbnb.
A special emphasis will be placed on large-scale online platforms with more than 45 million active users per month. The act will also apply to businesses headquartered outside the EU that supply services within the EU’s single market.
Are businesses going to be affected by this proposed law?
Legislators anticipate that the law will level the playing field in the market and facilitate the entry of small and medium-sized businesses. Additionally, they assert that third countries will follow the EU’s lead in establishing standards for digital services.
It is important to highlight that the DSA aims to give an opportunity to SMEs in proportion to their impact on the online ecosystem.
How will the DSA impact users?
Users will be able to report illegal content and the platform will be required to notify users of any subsequent decisions. Additionally, a system of trusted flaggers will be created for entities with specialized knowledge in a particular field.
There will be distinct standards for large online platforms, which will allow consumers to opt out of personalized material. Platforms will have a greater share of responsibility for disinformation.
Additionally, it will enable users to communicate with social media corporations when encountering issues with their accounts, for example, account restrictions.
The DSA aims to provide more peace of mind to individuals who frequently use online and social platforms.
What are the next steps for the EU’s Digital Services Act?
With the European Parliament’s negotiating position on the act established, talks will now begin with both the European Council and Commission.