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Towards a European Digital Services Act?

The foundations of a European Digital Services Act (DSA) are laid. What are the main principles that will apply in the EU?

By Nicolas Cambolin, Partner, Global Director Data Intelligence

A provisional but major political agreement was reached at the end of April 2022 between the Council and the European Parliament on digital services legislation. Ultimately, this will be imposed on any player, regardless of its geographical origin, offering online services within the European Union (content platform, e-commerce or search engine for example). The aim is to protect end users, following the principle of: "what is illegal offline must be illegal online" (fundamental rights, protection of minors, illegal content, handling of information).

The new obligations will require major platforms to:

  • Increased due diligence on products and services, often from third parties, that they offer and provision of more complete and accurate information
  • A ban on misleading interfaces called "Dark Patterns"
  • A ban on targeted advertising aimed at minors if they rely on personal data within the meaning of EU law
  • Better transparency of recommendation systems (algorithms) and allow the user-s to be able to choose a recommendation method that is not based on profiling
  • To control the risks of information manipulation in the event of a major crisis (e.g. war in Ukraine) under the impetus of the European Commission

These new obligations will apply proportionally depending on the size of the digital players. The category "very large platforms and very large online search engines" has been defined for companies with more than 45 million active users per month throughout the European Union. The strictest measures will of course apply to this category.

The monitoring of compliance with these obligations at European level will be entrusted to the European Commission, with exclusive power but in cooperation with the Member States. 

However, this founding agreement still has to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament according to a timetable still to be defined. We will keep you informed of future developments. To learn more about this agreement, click here.