Saturday, February 24

The EU closes the agreement on the new Digital Services Law

The European Commissioner for Trade, Thierry Breton. / Eph

The legislation, focused on disinformation and the dissemination of illegal content, puts an end to the large online platforms

EP Brussels

The negotiators of the European Parliament, the Twenty-seven and the European Commission have reached a political agreement this morning on the new Digital Services Law (DSA) with which to take measures against illegal content disseminated on the Internet and curb disinformation ‘online ‘.

The DSA will apply to all ‘online’ intermediaries that provide services in the EU and particularly affects technological giants such as Google, Amazon, Meta (the parent company of Facebook) or Twitter -identified in the agreement as “the large platforms and digital services – that, from now on, they will have to carry out an annual analysis »aimed at reducing the risks associated with the dissemination of illegal content or the manipulation of services with an impact on democratic processes and public security«.

Similarly, the law introduces the concept of “algorithmic responsibility” by which “the European Commission, as well as the member states, will have access to the algorithms of the large ‘online’ platforms”, obliged from now on to eliminate the ” illegal products, services or content promptly after they have been reported.

The European Commissioner for Trade, Thierry Breton, has described this agreement as a pact to put an end to “the era of ‘online’ platforms that behaved as if they were ‘too big to care'”, he explained in his account. Twitter about legislation that starts with the intention of being one of the great pillars of Internet legislation in the European bloc, together with the Digital Markets Law.

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The law also limits the so-called “dark web patterns”, interaction systems used by some companies on the Internet surreptitiously aimed at the economic exploitation of their users through misleading questions, the absence of price comparisons or the introduction of artificial obstacles to unsubscribe certain services.

This new legislation also requires that any content platform accessible by minors “establish special protection measures to guarantee their online safety, particularly when they become aware that a user is a minor. Thus »platforms will be prohibited from presenting targeted advertising based on the use of personal data of minors as defined in EU law«.

Likewise, the DSA introduces new transparency requirements regarding the parameters of content recommendation systems used by digital platforms and present to their users the content they consider relevant to their interests. Therefore, large content platforms as well as Google or other leading search engines “will have to offer users a recommendation system that is not based on their profile.”

The DSA will thus promise users “better control over how their personal data is used,” such as banning targeted advertising based on sensitive data (for example, based on sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity) and offering greater protection to victims of computer violence, such as women affected by the non-consensual exchange of images (known as ‘revenge porn’).

The Council and Parliament will give the Commission exclusive powers to supervise the providers covered by the agreement and they will be supervised at European level in cooperation with the member states. In near misses, online platforms and search engines could be fined up to 6% of their worldwide turnover. For very large online platforms (with more than 45 million users), the EU Commission will have the sole power to enforce such compliance.

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The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has welcomed an agreement “historic both in speed and in substance” that will try to guarantee that “the online environment continues to be a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital business.

“It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline should be illegal online. The larger the size, the greater the responsibilities of the platforms », he added.

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