On 22 April 2022, European policymakers reached an agreement on the Digital Services Act. The European Parliament approved the DSA along with the Digital Markets Act on 5 July 2022. In September, the Council of the European Union is expected to formally adopt the DSA, after which it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The act will come into force twenty days after publication. The rules will begin to apply fifteen months after coming into force or on 1 January 2024. Popular online platforms and search engines will need to comply with their obligations four months after they have been designated as such by the EU Commission. (Full wikipedia entry is here)

What is happening then?

There are two clear goals:

  • to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected;
  • to establish a level playing field to foster innovation, growth, and competitiveness, both in the European Single Market and globally.

Digital Services Act. What about it?

Introducing new obligations for online platforms with the idea of (1) better protecting consumers and their fundamental rights online (2) establish a powerful transparency and a clear accountability framework for online platforms and (3) Foster innovation, growth and competitiveness within the single market.

The Digital Services Act will protect citizens, providers of digital services, business users of digital services and society at large.

New rules for different digital service providers like Internet Service Providers, Domain Name Registrars, Hosting services and online platforms (which special ruling for platforms reaching a massive audience of the European market).

The new obligations entail elements on transparency reporting, requirements on the terms of service, cooperation with national authorities, establishment of clear points of contact or legal representatives, reporting criminal offenses, marked trusted flaggers for content, specific measures against abusive notices and many other.

Digital Markets Act. What about it?

Get the new concept which will hit strong in the coming years. The new buzzword is Gatekeeper and is one of the central elements of the new regulation. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) establishes a set of narrowly defined objective criteria for qualifying a large online platform as a so-called “gatekeeper”.

A ruling system which will maintain GAFAM companies accountable. The set of do’s and dont’s has been clearly traced. Gatekeepers will allow third parties to interoperate with their own services, grant access to business users to their data or allow publishers of ads to verify independently the ads published on the gatekeepers. At the same time, things like tracing users outside their platforms, preventing users uninstalling preinstalled applications, preventing business linking from outside their platforms or treating the gatekeepers services more favorably at the gatekeepers platforms will be forbidden.

In sum, new times for digital in Europe, which has created a path which will for sure be followed by others, as happened with the GDPR years ago. This article has been created by Miguel García, project manager at Australo for SPATIAL project.