The EU approves its great regulatory package for digital markets | Technology
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The European Union already has its great laws on markets and digital services ready. This Friday the European Parliament and the Council of the EU have closed the agreement on the digital services directive that joins the pact they reached at the end of March on the market regulation, thus giving definitive shape to the great regulatory package of Internet platforms , technological giants and digital activity that the EU had considered for this legislature. With both regulations, which still have to pass a final formal step, the Twenty-seven thus become pioneers throughout the world in the legal regulation of the technological revolution that is currently experiencing.
The Digital Services Directive (DSA), the official name of the standard, establishes transparency and access obligations on the algorithms of the large digital platforms (those with more than 45 million users, 10% of the market). European potential), rapid removal of illegal content, protection of fundamental rights (restrictions on the use of data based on race or religion) or fines that, in the case of the technological giants, can reach up to 6% of their global income (with the turnover of 2021, Amazon could face a fine of 26,000 million euros and Google 14,000, calculates Bloomberg).
In addition to these two large companies, others such as Meta, owner of Facebook and WhatsApp, or Twitter are among the firms affected by the new regulation. However, its field of action is broader than that of the digital markets directive, which focused on the great giants of the sector. This standard also targets Internet access providers, companies that are responsible for registering domains, companies that provide cloud storage services, platforms that mediate between vendors and consumers… However, it does establish a difference between large operators in the sector (more than 10% of the market) and others.
The political agreement reached this morning after a 16-hour meeting will now be transferred to a legal text that must be ratified by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. From then on, the rule will come into force 15 months later. This step is also missing from the other great rule agreed a few weeks ago, the Digital Markets Directive, something that will happen in May. It will then conclude a process that began in December 2020.
The pioneering nature of both regulations, and how what is being done in Brussels in this area is observed, is reflected in a message that the former candidate for president of the United States and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, published on the social network social Twitter before the start of the final meeting held by the community institutions: Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission, represented by the vice-president responsible for the branch, Margrethe Vestager, and the Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton. “For too long, technology platforms have unaccountably amplified disinformation and extremism. The EU is prepared to do something about it,” Clinton proclaims in her tweet.
For too long, tech platforms have amplified disinformation and extremism with no accountability. The EU is poised to do something about it.
I urge our transatlantic allies to push the Digital Services Act across the finish line and bolster global democracy before it’s too late.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 21, 2022
Precisely that point to which the former US presidential candidate also refers, disinformation, is one that the services directive triggers, providing for the rapid removal of content from digital platforms when they are detected to be illegal. “What is illegal offlinemust also be on-line”, Vestager underlined after the agreement, repeating one of the slogans that the European Commission has used to defend its purposes on digital regulation and adding, after the agreement, that it is no longer a set phrase, but a reality.
Ta da! 16 hours, lots of sweets (but cookies still declined 😉 We have a deal on the #DSA: The Digital Services Act will make sure that what is illegal offline is also seen & dealt with as illegal online – not as a slogan, as reality! And always protecting freedom of expression! pic.twitter.com/mUhU84Q9FS
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) April 23, 2022
One of the points that has become clear during the last round of negotiations is that the Commission will be in charge of controlling the platforms that exceed 10% of the potential European market (now 45 million users). The objective of this is that there is a homogeneous application of the norm throughout Europe and that there is no possibility that there are countries that could agree on a lax interpretation of the norm and thus attract companies. Behind this is, above all, the possibility that Ireland, the European headquarters of many American technology giants (Apple, Google), could not reach this type of agreement.
As explained by the Council of the EU in its statement, this directive will force the large digital platforms to analyze the risks that they can cause and study how to reduce them every year. In this analysis, companies such as Facebook, Google or Twitter must pay attention to the dissemination of illegal content with a negative impact on fundamental rights, its consequences on democratic processes, such as elections, public security, gender violence, mental health or about minors. For example, users are allowed “better control” of how their data is used, by vetting the use of data such as sexual orientation, religion or race in personalized advertising.
In addition, habitual tricks on the network will be prohibited, such as the use of so-called dark patterns (dark patterns, according to the literal translation into Spanish) that confuse the user about the real content of a web page. The use of personal data of minors to present advertising will also be prohibited.
The impact of the war in Ukraine has even reached the processing of this regulation in which a new article has been added during its processing to respond to crisis situations such as the current one. The Council statement explains that “a mechanism has been created that will be activated by the Commission on the recommendation of the national coordinators of digital services”, a figure the latter that creates this directive. The objective of this instrument is “to decide the proportionate and effective measures that must be applied to respect fundamental rights.” However, these extraordinary measures are limited to a period of three months.
This directive also imposes the obligation on the platforms that put sellers in contact with buyers to take special care about how these commercial relationships are, since they must guarantee that consumers are correctly informed and that all the information about the products and services is displayed. the services offered.
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