Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects simply to a non-technical, business audience. Over…
The European Union Digital Services Act (DSA) is legislation that is intended to protect the fundamental rights of Internet users in the EU by holding Internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, social media platforms, online marketplaces, content delivery networks (CDNs) and other intermediaries that provide online services more accountable. The DSA will become effective on January 1, 2024.
Just like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU AI Act, the DSA applies to all companies that provide digital services to EU customers. This includes services that are accessible from the EU, as well as services that are targeted at EU users.
Non-compliance could result in fines and penalties of up to 6% of an intermediary’s annual worldwide revenue for the preceding financial year.
A large portion of the Digital Services Act focuses on content moderation and the responsibility that online platforms have to remove harmful content and identify misinformation.
Accountability is another core element of the DSA. It stipulates that online intermediaries must cooperate with public authorities to combat content and online behavior that could be harmful to others.
This includes the illegal collection, use, or disclosure of personal data without proper consent, as well as the immediate removal of:
Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) with more than 45 million monthly active users in the EU are required to conduct risk assessments of their platforms, publish annual transparency reports, and establish a mechanism that responds to user complaints within two weeks.
The DSA has a number of key provisions, including:
Additionally, the DSA is designed to protect and empower end users in a number of ways. It requires intermediaries to:
Despite its benevolent goals, the DSA has sparked controversy and has raised important questions about the heavy regulatory compliance burden the Act will place on smaller intermediaries as well as VLOPS and VLOSEs.
Concerns have also been voiced about the potential for the Act to censor content unnecessarily due to a lack of clearly defined terminology within the legislation. Critics maintain that phrases like “appropriate and proportionate measures” are so open to interpretation that the Act’s vague language will make it difficult for stakeholders to comply with – or enforce – the legislation.
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.
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