The EU’s Digital Services Act

Introduction
The European Digital Strategy, Shaping Europe’s Digital Future, is one of the two major pillars of the European Commission’s action plan towards a green and digital transition for the European Union.

As part of the strategy, the European Commission proposed two legislative initiatives to upgrade the rules governing digital services, to apply across the whole of the EU: and the Digital Markets Act.

Below you can find a brief on the proposal for a regulation on the Digital Services Act.

You may wish to provide your views and/or concerns to the Ministry for the Economy and Industry to be taken into consideration during the ongoing discussions before the proposal is adopted by the EU institutions.

You may send your views by Monday, 15 March 2021 to Ms Glorianne Cini, Ministry for Enterprise and Industry on glorianne.cini@gov.mt.

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Single Market for Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and amending Directive 2000/31/EC – COM (2020) 85

On 15 December 2020, the European Commission unveiled the Digital Services Act (COM (2020) 825). This Proposal, as well as another proposal on Digital Markets (COM (2020) 842), correspond to the declared commitment of the Von der Leyen Commission to the revision of the internal market rules for digital services.

The proposed regulation will trigger an impact on citizens, providers of digital services, business users of digital services and the society at large.

The proposed Digital Services Act Regulation keeps key principles of the E-commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC) in particular the liability provisions. It modernises and clarifies the exemptions of liability, promotes the adoption of proactive measures, and imposes asymmetric due diligence obligations.

Concretely the Proposal includes:

  • measures to counter illegal goods, services or content online, such as a mechanism for users to flag such content and for platforms to cooperate with ‘trusted flaggers’;
  • new obligations on traceability of business users in online marketplaces, to help identify sellers of illegal goods;
  • effective safeguards for users, including the possibility to challenge platforms’ content moderation decisions;
  • transparency measures for online platforms on a variety of issues, including on the algorithms used for recommendations;
  • obligations for very large platforms to prevent the misuse of their systems by taking risk-based action and by independent audits of their risk management systems;
  • access for researchers to key data of the largest platforms, in order to understand how online risks evolve;
  • oversight structure to address the complexity of the online space. EU countries will have the primary role through their Digital Services Coordinators, supported by a new European Board for Digital Services. For very large platforms, enhanced supervision and enforcement by the Commission is foreseen.

More information can be found here.

The Proposal for a Regulation on the Digital Services Act can be accessed from here:
COM (2020) 85 – Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Single Market for Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and amending Directive 2000/31/EC.

« Back