EU unveils its consultation on the Digital Services Act Package
The Commission launched on June 3rd, 2020 its awaited public consultation on the Digital Services Act. The consultation, open until 8 September, covers issues such as safety online, freedom of expression, fairness and a level-playing field in the digital economy.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The Internet presents citizens and businesses with great opportunities, which they balance against risks that come with working and interacting online. At this time, we are asking for the views of interested citizens and stakeholders on how to make a modern regulatory framework for digital services and online platforms in the EU. Many of these questions impact the day-to-day lives of citizens and we are committing to build a safe and innovative digital future with purpose for them.”
Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “Online platforms have taken a central role in our life, our economy and our democracy. With such a role comes greater responsibility, but this can happen only against the backdrop of a modern rulebook for digital services. Today we launch our public consultation: we will listen to all views and reflect together to find the right balance between a safe Internet for all, protecting freedom of expression and ensuring space to innovate in the EU single market.”
The consultation covers the two work strands announced by the Commission as part of the Digital Services Act package:
The first set of rules would relate to the fundamentals of the e-commerce directive, in particular the freedom to provide digital services across the EU single market in accordance with the rules of the place of establishment and a broad limitation of liability for content created by users. Building on these principles, it aims to establish clearer and modern rules concerning the role and obligations of online intermediaries, including non-EU ones active in the EU, as well as a more effective governance system to ensure that such rules are correctly enforced across the EU single Market while guaranteeing the respect of fundamental rights.
The second measure would address the issue of the level playing field in European digital markets, where currently a few large online platforms act as gatekeepers. The Commission will explore rules to address these market imbalances, to ensure that consumers have the widest choice and that the EU single market for digital services remains competitive and open to innovation. This could be through additional general rules for all platforms of a certain scale, such as rules on self-preferencing, and/or through tailored regulatory obligations for specific gatekeepers, such as non-personal data access obligations, specific requirements regarding personal data portability, or interoperability requirements.
In addition, the Commission is also taking the opportunity to consult on other emerging issues related to online platforms, such as the opportunities and challenges that self-employed people face in providing services through online platforms.
In parallel, a second consultation is launched on a possible new competition tool.