Ursula von der Leyenthe President of the European Commission, defined the agreement reached in recent days between the European Parliament and the EU Member States, whose negotiations had begun last February, regarding the Digital Services Act, “historic”, both in terms of speed than of substance.
“The Digital Services Act will update the basic rules for all online services in the EU and ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. The law embodies the principle according to that what is illegal offline should also be illegal online. Today’s political agreement, complementary to the one on the law on digital markets reached last month, sends a strong signal: to all Europeans, to all EU businesses and to our international counterparts. “
The Digital Services Act, a bill presented by the Commission in December 2020, sets new standards on responsibility of online platforms as regards illegal and harmful content, it provides for greater protection of internet users and their fundamental rights and defines a single set of rules in the internal market, helping smaller platforms to expand.
NEW FRAMEWORK FOR DIGITAL SERVICES
The new framework established by the Digital Services Act will be tasked with “rebalance” the rights and responsibilities of users and also provides a series of obligations that will apply to all digital services and to which numerous subjects will have to adapt, including various online intermediary services including those offering network infrastructures, such as internet access providers and domain name registrars, hosting services, online platforms and search engines used by over 10% of the EU’s 450 million consumersonline marketplaces, app stores and social media.
The Commission will be entrusted with the task of supervising very large platforms, with the possibility of imposing effective and dissuasive sanctions, in line with those agreed last March for the parallel package DMA (Digital Markets Act), which provide for up to 6% of their overall turnover or even a ban on operating in the EU single market in the event of repeated serious infringements.
THE NEXT STAGE
The agreement will now be subject to formal approval by the two co-legislators and, once adopted, the Digital Services Law will be directly applicable across the EU and will apply 15 months after entry into force or from 1 January 2024, whichever is later. As regards very large online platforms and very large search engines, the law will apply from an earlier date, i.e. 4 months after their designation.