Big Fines For Big Tech - Liberties Comment In The Media

The European has released the Digital Services Act (DSA), which is a long-overdue overhaul of the online world and e-commerce rules. We shared our views in the media.

Like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DSA will have a spill-over effect outside the borders of the EU. The EU must learn from the landmark regulation it introduced in 2018, which has been handicapped by poor enforcement.

DSA will set clear rules for online services and improve the situation, but it’s unlikely to be a turning point without proper enforcement. Giving authorities the power to impose large fines on tech giants does not mean they will do so, or enforce these rules.

"The Irish data protection authority is a case in point because it has done very little to enforce the GDPR. What we need to do is empower users so they can contest decisions by the tech giants, and the authorities must step in when there is abuse. We also need more robust transparency mechanisms to understand how internet platforms operate, how they do targeted advertisements, and remove content. This would help with enforcement of the DSA”, Eva Simon, a senior advocacy officer at Liberties, said.

The Digital Services Act obliges online platforms to remove internet content considered to be illegal. This raises all sorts of questions about the role online platforms play in our democracy.

We should never let the internet giants become the online police. We have already gifted them too much power in our democracy, and they should not be allowed to decide what we can see online. When it comes to choosing between business interests and protecting freedom of speech, the tech giants have a strong incentive to remove content if there is any risk that they may be legally liable,Eva Simon said.


See Liberties' commentary in the international media covering DSA launch:

Instant View: U.S. tech firms face new EU rules for business practices

El Pais: Bruselas contra los gigantes tecnológicos: dejar atrás la impotencia sin caer en la prepotencia (in Spanish)

AFP: Régulation européenne du numérique: les principales réactions (in French)

NetzPolitik: 'Brutaler Kampf über die Beschränkung der Marktmacht der Internetgiganten' (in German)