Friday saw Parliament and Council reach a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act. Together with the Digital Markets Act the DSA will establish the standards for a safer, more open digital space for users as well as a level playing field to companies for many years.
Online platforms that are more responsible
Under the new rules, intermediary platforms, such as social media and marketplaces, will have to take precautions to protect their users from illegal content and goods.
- Algorithmic accountability: The algorithms of large online platforms will be available to both the European Commission and its member states.
- Rapid removal of illegal content online, including products and services:A clearer notice will be provided and an action procedure. Users will be empowered and able to report illegal content online. Online platforms will need to respond quickly.
- Online protection of fundamental rights: stronger safeguards to ensure notices processed in a timely manner Non-discriminatory and non-arbitrary respect for fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and data privacy;
- Online marketplaces more responsible: They have to ensure that consumers are able to purchase safe products and services online. This includes strengthening checks to show that traders are trustworthy (Know Your Business customer principle) as well as making efforts to prevent illegal content appearing on their platforms.
- Cyber violence victims will be better protectedEspecially against non-consensual shared (revenge porn), which requires immediate takedowns
- PenaltiesOnline platforms and search engines can be fined up 6% of their worldwide turnover. The EU Commission will have the exclusive power to enforce compliance in the event of very large online platforms (with more than 45 million users),
- SME owners have less to do and more time to adapt.The new rules will be applied for a longer time to encourage innovation in the digital economy. The potential economic effects of the new obligations for small businesses will be closely monitored by the Commission.
Online space that is safer for users
- New Transparency ObligationsPlatforms will allow users to be more informed about how content is suggested to them (recommenders systems) and to select at least one option that isn’t based upon profiling.
- Online advertising Users will have more control over how their personal information is used. Sensitive data such as sensitive data, such as social security numbers, are exempt from targeted advertising. targeted advertising based on sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity
- Protection of minorsPlatforms accessible to minors will need to take specific precautions to protect them, including banning targeted ads completely.
- It will be illegal to manipulate users’ choices using dark patterns.Online platforms and marketplaces shouldn’t push people to use their services. It should be as simple as cancelling a subscription to a service.
- CompensationDigital service recipients have the right to seek redress for any loss or damages caused by platform infringements.
Harmful content and disinformation
Due to the high social risks associated with disseminating illegal and/or harmful content, large online platforms will need to adhere to stricter DSA requirements.
- Large online platforms will need to assess and mitigate systemic riskEach year, independent audits must be conducted. Large platforms that use recommender systems (algorithms to determine what users see) should provide at least one option that does not depend on profiling.
- Special measures during times of crisis: When a crisis arises, such as a threat to public security or health, the Commission may need large platforms to reduce any immediate threats to its platforms. These actions are restricted to three months.
Get a Quote
The Digital Services Act will set global standards. Online platforms and large tech-companies will be able to use citizens’ data in a more controlled manner. Citizens will have greater control. We have finally made it so that online illegality is not only illegal offline, but also online. Christel Schaldemose, European Parliament’s rapporteur (DK, S&D), said that additional obligations regarding algorithmic transparency are important achievements. These new rules offer more choices for users, and platforms have new obligations regarding targeted ads. This includes bans on targeting minors as well as restrictions on data harvesting to aid profiling.
Before both Parliament and Council will give their formal approval, the text will need to have been finalised at technical levels and checked by lawyer-linguists. After this process is complete, the text will be published in the EU Official Journal. The rules will then start to apply 15 month later.
A delegation from the EPs Internal Market Committee is scheduled to visit Silicon Valley’s company headquarters (Meta and Google, Apple, and others) to discuss the Digital Services Act package and other digital legislation. They will also hear the positions of American start-ups and government officials.