London: In a significant move, the European Parliament on Tuesday approved two major pieces of digital regulation that will set out unprecedented standards on the accountability of online companies within an open and competitive digital market.
The Parliament held the final vote on the new Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA), following an earlier deal reached between Parliament and Council.
The two bills aim to address the societal and economic effects of the tech industry by setting clear standards for how they operate and provide services in the EU, in line with the EU’s fundamental rights and values.
The Digital Services Act was adopted with 539 votes in favour, 54 votes against and 30 abstentions. The Digital Markets Act was adopted with 588 in favour, 11 votes against and 31 abstentions.
“For too long, tech giants have benefited from an absence of rules. The digital world has developed into a Wild West, with the biggest and strongest setting the rules. But there is a new sheriff in town — the DSA,” said Christel Schaldemose, rapporteur for the Digital Services Act.
“Now rules and rights will be strengthened. We are opening up the black box of algorithms so that we can have a proper look at the moneymaking machines behind these social platforms,” he added.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) sets clear obligations for digital service providers, such as social media or marketplaces, to tackle the spread of illegal content, online disinformation and other societal risks.
Very large online platforms and search engines (with 45 million or more monthly users), which present the highest risk, will have to comply with stricter obligations, enforced by the Commission.
They will also have to facilitate access to their data and algorithms to authorities and vetted researchers.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) sets obligations for large online platforms acting as “gatekeepers” (platforms whose dominant online position make them hard for consumers to avoid) on the digital market to ensure a fairer business environment and more services for consumers.
“We no longer accept the ‘survival of the financially strongest’. The purpose of the digital single market is that Europe gets the best companies and not just the biggest. We need proper supervision to make sure that the regulatory dialogue works,” said Andreas Schwab, rapporteur for the DMA.
Once formally adopted by the Council in July (DMA) and September (DSA), both acts will be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after publication, said the commission.