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What is the Digital Services Act?

The Digital Services Act (DCA) is a set of rules created to protect consumers in the EU and their fundamental rights on the internet. The intent is to establish the guidelines for accountability and transparency for contributors, platforms, and consumers online. The goal is to foster innovation, and growth and facilitate the scaling up of smaller media platforms, SMEs and start-ups.

What it means for consumers of content

  • Better protection of fundamental rights

  • More choice, lower prices

  • Less exposure to illegal content

The Digital Services Act makes it easier to make demands for the removal of illegal content and holds online platforms responsible for the effective protection of users’ fundamental rights online; including the freedom of speech.

It also creates stronger public oversight of online platforms; in particular platforms that reach more than 10% of the EU’s population. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others will be regulated.

But what is illegal content according to the DCA? Here are the descriptions according to

  • measures to counter illegal goods, services or content online, such as a mechanism for users to flag such content and for platforms to cooperate with “trusted flaggers”

  • new obligations on traceability of business users in online market places, to help identify sellers of illegal goods or reasonable efforts by online market places to randomly check whether products or services have been identified as being illegal in any official database

  • effective safeguards for users, including the possibility to challenge platforms’ content moderation decisions

  • ban on certain type of targeted adverts on online platforms (when they target children or when they use special categories of personal data, such as ethnicity, political views, sexual orientation)

  • transparency measures for online platforms on a variety of issues, including on the algorithms used for recommendations

  • obligations for very large platforms and very large online search engines to prevent the misuse of their systems by taking risk-based action and by independent audits of their risk management systems

  • access for researchers to key data of the largest platforms and search engines, in order to understand how online risks evolve

  • oversight structure to address the complexity of the online space: EU countries will have the primary role, supported by a new European Board for Digital Services; for very large platforms, supervision and enforcement by the Commission

The Impact on Businesses

As you can imagine, new legislation brings uncertainty for businesses operating within these spaces. Here's what you need to know as a business owner affected by the DCA. 1| More Transparency. The Digital Services Act will require that more of your business's internal processes and dealings are transparent. The goal is to allow consumers to make more informed decisions and be aware of how they are being targeted by companies online. 2| The Digital Markets Act With a different set of rules than the DCA, the DMA will give businesses more information on data held by online platforms and gatekeepers i.e. Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Instagram.

This will allow businesses more choice when it comes to where they sell their products. 3| Clear guidelines as to what is legal and illegal online

With the same set of rules for every country in the EU, businesses will know exactly what they are dealing with and what rules to follow.

Small players such as SME's and micro-enterprises will have legal certainty to develop services and protect users from illegal activities and will be supported by standards, codes of conduct and guidelines. If you would like to read more about the effect of the Digital Services Act on Businesses you can visit HERE

The state of the internet in 2022

So how does this affect you, an average internet user in the EU in 2022?

We've highlighted just a few ways both consumers and companies will be affected by the Digital Services Act in this blog post.

But our main takeaway is the increased attention being put on data privacy by governments, businesses, media, and consumers in 2022. If you would like to make sure your business is more secure, why not consider MailSPEC Cybersecurity products?

Designed for private cloud topologies serving as critical communication systems, our services are selected by regulated industries for compliance, reliability, and control.

MailSPEC is designed for global brands that must communicate with their clients and maintain data that is forbidden to be in the public cloud. Learn more about what we offer HERE

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