The European Parliament has approved the Digital Services Package, comprising the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Marketing Act (DMA), originally put forward by the European Commission in December 2020.
The package will limit the power that big tech platforms hold across the internet, aiming to create a more secure and competitive space. The DSA will hold online platforms accountable for violations of users’ privacy, requires stricter policing on illegal content, and places limitations on insensitive advertising.
Executive vice president for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, commented: “The European Parliament has adopted a global first: Strong, ambitious regulation of online platforms. The Digital Services Act enables the protection of users' rights online. The Digital Markets Act creates fair, open online markets. As an example, illegal hate speech can also be dealt with online. And products bought online must be safe. Big platforms will have to refrain from promoting their own interests, share their data with other businesses, enable more app stores. Because with size comes responsibility - as a big platform, there are things you must do and things you cannot do.”
The DMA requires message services to be interoperable, demands accessibility of data for business users, and the permittance of outside parties to promote products and services on an online platform without a promotional bias towards their own services. Big tech will also be unable to stop customers from removing pre-installed apps.
If the DSA or DMA are violated, companies face huge fines.
To enforce the Digital Payments Package, the European Commission has invested €12 million into setting up a taskforce for which 80 officials have already been hired. The officials will be responsible for various sections of the bills, including: risk assessment, data collection, and interoperability of messenger services. The Commission is also forming a European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency to administer the regulation.
Commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, stated: “10 years ago, a page was turned on ‘too big to fail' banks. Now — with DSA & DMA — we're turning the page on ‘too big to care' platforms. We are finally building a single digital market, the most important one in the ‘free world'. The same predictable rules will apply, everywhere in the EU, for our 450 million citizens, bringing everyone a safer and fairer digital space.”
In response to the EU Parliament adopting the regulation, organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have voiced concern on the implementation of the services. The EFF’s statement on the DSA conveyed a lack of clarity on upcoming challenged for enforcement of the regulation, including the overarching role of government agencies and maintaining security and privacy in one-way messaging platforms.
- The European Commission presented a digital services package comprising the Digital Services Act (DSA) and a Digital Markets Act (DMA) in December 2020.
- On 25 November 2021, less than a year after the start of negotiations in the Council, member states unanimously agreed on the Council’s position on the DMA.
- During April 2022, EU Parliament reached provisional political agreement on the Digital Services Act.
- In May 2022, the Commission announced that the EU Digital Markets Act would not come into force until early 2023, rather than during 2022 as originally anticipated.