Legislation boring food? Not if it suddenly has a major impact on your (online) life. And that is exactly the case with the Digital Services Act (DSA). This European legislation is intended to better protect citizens and businesses online. And that is about time, when you consider that the current legislation is 20 years old. Is this the end of fake news, complicated cookie notifications, dark patterns and invisible algorithms?
The European Parliament and the European Council reached a political agreement on the DSA on 23 April 2022. In this article I share ‘in a nutshell’ what this Digital Services Act means.
The Digital Services Act in brief
The European Union has been working on several new laws aimed at reshaping the internet and our online lives for some time now, likely to come into force in 2023. For example, the Digital Quality Directors Email Lists Markets Act (DMA) focuses on limiting the power and monopoly position of big tech companies such as Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon. To ensure a level playing field for all digital companies.
The Digital Services Act (or Digital Services Act) will apply to large internet companies (Amazon, Meta…) as well as internet companies such as Zalando and Booking. In short, the law must ensure that ‘what is illegal offline (by law and regulation) also becomes illegal online’.
You can think of protection against:
- Harmful or illegal content such as hate speech, cyber violence, or copyright infringement.
- Illegal trade in goods and services.
- Political or health-related disinformation.
There will also be better rules for the protection of freedom of expression and data protection. The DSA focuses on the online safety of children, the elderly and everyone in between.
From social media to hosting providers
The law will apply to digital services such as social media, online marketplaces, hosting providers, app stores and other online platforms that offer their services in the European Union.