On 15 December 2020, the European Commission proposed a set of new rules for all digital services: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. With this proposal, the Commission wants to make sure users have access to a wide choice of safe products and services online, and that businesses compete fairly and freely.
In a nutshell, the acts support:
- No barriers for businesses
- Safer online space
- Protecting fundamental rights & freedom of expression
- Transparent & accountable platforms
The Digital Services Act
The Digital Services Act includes rules for online intermediary services, which millions of Europeans use every day. The obligations of different online players match their role, size and impact in the online ecosystem.
- Intermediary services offering network infrastructure: Internet access providers, domain name registrars, including also:
- Hosting services such as cloud and webhosting services, including also:
- Online platforms bringing together sellers and consumers such as online marketplaces, app stores, collaborative economy platforms and social media platforms.
- Very large online platforms pose particular risks in the dissemination of illegal content and societal harms. Specific rules are foreseen for platforms reaching more than 10% of 450 million consumers in Europe.
The Digital Services Act significantly improves the mechanisms for the removal of illegal content and for the effective protection of users’ fundamental rights online, including the freedom of speech. It also creates a stronger public oversight of online platforms, in particular for platforms that reach more than 10% of the EU’s population.
The Digital Markets Act
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) establishes a set of narrowly defined objective criteria for qualifying a large online platform as a so-called “gatekeeper”. This allows the DMA to remain well targeted to the problem that it aims to tackle as regards large, systemic online platforms.
These criteria will be met if a company:
- has a strong economic position, significant impact on the internal market and is active in multiple EU countries
- has a strong intermediation position, meaning that it links a large user base to a large number of businesses
- has (or is about to have) an entrenched and durable position in the market, meaning that it is stable over time
The new rules will establish obligations for gatekeepers, “do’s” and “don’ts” they must comply with in their daily operations.
To ensure that the new gatekeeper rules keep up with the fast pace of digital markets, the Commission will carry out market investigations. These will allow the Commission to:
- qualify companies as gatekeepers
- update dynamically the obligations for gatekeepers when necessary
- design remedies to tackle systematic infringements of the Digital Markets Act rules
Source: European Commission