European Union leaders agree on Digital Services Act

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The European Parliament leaders reached an agreement on the Digital Services Act on April 23, 2022. The Digital Services Act will require large technology companies to give the European Commission and member states of the European Union access to their algorithms. The act also requires swift removal of illegal content online through notices. In addition, the act will protect fundamental rights online and hold online marketplaces and trader accountable through random checks to prevent illegal content from appearing. The act will also protect victims of cyber violence and against non-consentual sharing of illegal content (revenge porn). The penalties will include 6% of tech companies worldwide turnover. Very large online platforms with more than 45 million users have to comply with the directives of the Digital Services Act. The act will also give more time to apply and implement the new rules in the digital economy. The European Commission will monitor the effects of the act on small businesses.

The act will also make online platforms clearly communicate what they are recommending to their users and give them a choice to not be profiled. Users will be able to control online advertising information and targeted advertising for sensitive data such as religion and ethnicity will be banned. Targeted advertising against minors will be fully banned. Technology platforms will not be allowed to recommend their services over a competitors services by making their services the default preference. Cancelling subscriptions will be as easy as signing up for the subscription.

Christel Schaldemose (DK, S&D) stated “The Digital Services Act will set new global standards. Citizens will have better control over how their data are used by online platforms and big tech-companies. We have finally made sure that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. For the European Parliament, additional obligations on algorithmic transparency and disinformation are important achievements." She later added “These new rules also guarantee more choice for users and new obligations for platforms on targeted ads, including bans to target minors and restricting data harvesting for profiling.” A delegation from the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee visited Meta, Google, Apple, and others in Silicon Valley from May 23 to May 27. The committee endorsed the provisionally reached agreement with 36 votes in favor, 5 against, and one abstaining. The next step will to put in a final vote for the Digital Services Act in the European Parliament in July and then formally adopt the act by the European Council. The Digital Services Act will be published in the European Union Official Journal and enter in force 20 days later and fifteen months later the statutes will apply.