An agreement has just been reached on the law that should protect European citizens and companies online. The Digital Services Act (DSA) ensures that what is illegal offline becomes illegal online. In addition, the law offers protection to children on the Internet and imposes restrictions on the distribution of disinformation. Member of the European Parliament Paul Tang, one of the politicians working on the bill from the start, responds enthusiastically: “Twenty years we have had no legislation on digital services, while the tech sector developed at lightning speed. It is therefore historic that today the Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the law that will reform the internet. What is illegal in the real world must also be illegal online, so that our children, our elderly and all of us are safe on the internet.”
The agreement on the DSA follows a negotiation process, which went hand in hand with the sister law DMA (Digital Markets Act). This law was already negotiated last month. Tang was one of the rapporteurs on the DSA initiative report in 2020 on behalf of the European Parliament. He is also co-initiator of the European Tracking-Free Ads Coalition, a coalition of politicians, NGOs and companies set up to ban tracking ads on the Internet: “The Digital Services Act tackles the digital attention economy. We are being chased around the internet for annoying personalised ads. We are now going to put a stop to that, against the wishes of the multi-billion dollar Big Tech lobby.”
Salient is the article in the law about disinformation, in which platforms like Facebook and Google are required to state what steps they are taking against fake news and disinformation in light of the war in Ukraine and Covid19. Tang: “With this law, we are making a statement against Putin’s propaganda policy. But the comprehensive DSA will have an impact on every internet user. Dangerous TikTok-challenges and addictive algorithms will be made impossible.” Tech companies will be obliged to test their platforms for dangers and then fix them. If they fail to do so, they can face enormous fines. This is in addition to the amount that platforms themselves have to pay to the regulators.
The law is then expected to take effect next year.