March 4, 2024

As of 17 February, all intermediary service providers providing services in the EU must be fully compliant with the Digital Services Act (DSA). The e-Commerce Directive, which has been in force until now, sets out the rules for digital services – certain fundamental principles. These have been transposed into the Digital Services Act, but with the addition of new requirements and stricter responsibilities for service providers. Providers must ensure the safety of internet users.

“Big changes are ahead for market participants, consumers and the competent authorities that supervise them. This European Union initiative, which has come into force, ‘sets the tone’ for the regulation of digital services in the global market. All intermediary service providers providing services in the EU must now fully comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA). Examples include hosting providers, e-marketplaces, social networks, cloud providers, internet service providers and content sharing platforms such as video platforms and online travel and accommodation platforms,” said Vygantas Vaitkus, a member of the Council of the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA).

In the short term, he said, with the Digital Services Act in force, it is important for everyone to know their rights and obligations: the market participants need to be aware of their obligations, as well as the consumers, who should use the tools available to them to ensure their rights in cyberspace. For their part, the supervisory authorities must ensure that they have the necessary resources and that they carry out the functions they are supposed to perform.

“In the long term, we will measure the change in consumer and market segments according to its objectives, informing the public about it, as well as monitoring the market”, says V. Vaitkus, a members of the Council of CRA.

Establish a common framework

Deborah Behar, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Content and Technology for Telecommunications Networks, highlighted that the Digital Services Act was very much needed as there was a large number of different laws at national level.

“There were 27 different legal systems across the European Union, which posed many challenges for online service providers delivering services globally. In drafting this Act, we have also identified a number of pressing issues for Europeans, who are increasingly buying goods and services online. This is why it was so important to update the legal framework at European level”, said D. Behar.

She said that the new law has two main objectives. Firstly, it aims to protect fundamental consumer rights, including rights such as freedom of expression or consumer protection.

The second objective is to create equal competitive conditions for businesses. Instead of having 27 systems of law, we will have one single system at European level.

The CRA reminds that from 25 August 2023, very large-scale platforms and internet search engines such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Google, Youtube, Amazon, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. are obliged to provide access to the algorithms of their systems, to identify, analyse and assess systemic risks of disinformation and illegal content, to take appropriate measures, to conduct periodic audits and to comply with other requirements. The EC will be required to monitor the implementation of the applicable requirement. Non-compliance carries significant penalties of up to 6 % of an organisation’s annual global turnover.

Updated on 2024-03-22