Digital Services Act: EU passes “historic” internet law
The EU has passed a comprehensive internet law that introduces rules for the major online platforms.
EU passes “historic” Digital Services Act
© European Commission @ Facebook
After an hour-long meeting in Brussels, the EU agreed on an ambitious draft law for stricter surveillance of the online world, as reported by Zeit.de.
Early Saturday morning, after 16 hours of negotiations, the EU agreed the main features of the Digital Services Act (DSA), which will in future force tech companies to take more responsibility for the content published on their platforms. The new obligations include removing illegal content and goods more quickly, explaining to users and experts how their algorithms work, and taking stricter action against the spread of misinformation. In the event of non-compliance, companies face fines of up to six percent of their annual turnover.
Ursula von der Leyen: The Digital Service Act is “historic”
“Today’s agreement on the Digital Services Act is historic, both in terms of speed and content. The DSA will improve the ground rules for all online services in the EU. It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space that protects freedom of expression and opportunity for digital businesses.It puts into practice the principle that what is illegal offline should also be illegal online.The bigger the online platforms, the bigger also their responsibilities. Today’s agreement, which complements the political agreement reached last month on the Digital Markets Act, sends a strong signal: to all Europeans, to all EU businesses and to our international partners,”
said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Digital Services Act (DSA): This will include:
The final legal text of the DSA has yet to be published, but the EU Parliament and European Commission have set out a number of commitments that will include:
Targeted advertising based on an individual’s religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity is prohibited. Minors must also not be the subject of targeted advertising.
Confusing or deceptive user interfaces aimed at misleading users to make certain decisions – will be prohibited.
Canceling subscriptions should be as easy as signing up.
Large online platforms such as Google, Facebook & Co. must make the functionality of their recommendation algorithms transparent to users. In addition, users should be offered a recommendation system that “is not based on profiling”.
Hosting services and online platforms must clearly explain why they have removed illegal content and allow users to object to such removals. However, the DSA itself does not define what content is illegal, but rather leaves this up to the different countries.
The largest online platforms must provide experts with key data to “gain better insight into the evolution of online risks”.
Online marketplaces need to store basic information about traders on their platform in order to track down people selling illegal goods or services.
Large platforms will also have to adopt new strategies for dealing with misinformation in times of crisis (a stipulation brought about by the recent invasion of Ukraine).
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