Digital Services Act to Make Internet Safer for European Citizens

Digital Services Act to Make Internet Safer for European Citizens

The EU Council and European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA) in order to make the internet a safer space for EU citizens.

Described as ‘a world first in the field of digital regulation’ the DSA follows the principle that what is illegal offline must also be illegal online.

The DSA will apply to all online intermediaries providing services in the EU.

The obligations introduced are proportionate to the nature of the services concerned and tailored to the number of users, meaning that very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs) will be subject to more stringent requirements. Services with more than 45 million monthly active users in the European Union will fall into the category of very large online platforms and very large search engines.

To safeguard the development of start-ups and smaller enterprises in the internal market, micro and small enterprises with under 45 million monthly active users in the EU will be exempted from certain new obligations.

In order to ensure effective and uniform implementation of requirements under the DSA, the Council and Parliament have decided to confer on the Commission exclusive power to supervise VLOPs and VLOSEs for the obligations specific to this type of actor.

They will be supervised at European level in cooperation with the member states. This new supervisory mechanism maintains the country-of-origin principle, which will continue to apply to other actors and requirements covered by the DSA.

Given the important role played by online marketplaces in the daily lives of European consumers, the DSA will impose a duty of care on marketplaces vis-à-vis sellers who sell their products or services on their online platforms.

For online platforms and interfaces covered by the DSA, the co-legislators have agreed to prohibit misleading interfaces known as ‘dark patterns’ and practices aimed at misleading users.

In the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the particular impact on the manipulation of online information, a new article has been added to the text introducing a crisis response mechanism.

Platforms accessible to minors will also have to put in place special protection measures to ensure their safety online in particular when they are aware that a user is a minor. Platforms will be prohibited from presenting targeted advertising based on the use of minors’ personal data as defined in EU law.

Image by Benjamin Dada/ Via UnSplash/https://unsplash.com/license

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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