The Digital Services Act of the European Union |

The Digital Services Act of the European Union


∙ The European Commission recently informed that the Digital Services Act (DSA) has started applying to all online platforms in the European Union.

About Digital Services Act

∙ It is a landmark legislation introduced by the European Union (EU) to regulate online intermediaries and platforms.

∙ It was adopted in 2022 and now applicable to all EU Member States.

∙ It aims to create a safer and more open digital space, where the rights of users are protected and businesses can freely and fairly compete.

∙ It is designed to ensure that users have access to a wide range of safe products and services online.

∙ It aims to prevent illegal and harmful activities online and curb the spread of disinformation. It seeks to protect user safety, fundamental rights, and create a fair and open online platform environment.

Features: Organisations for which the DSA applies are required to:

∙ provide greater transparency on their services;

∙ adopt procedures for handling take down notices, informing users in certain circumstances and addressing complaints;

∙ refrain from certain practices, such as profiling, and/or improve control for users of their service.

∙ Impacts

∙ On Big Tech Firms: It seeks to regulate how big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon target advertisements and requires them to take more responsibility for dealing with illegal content and dangerous products on their platforms.

∙ Non-compliance with the new rules could result in hefty fines.

∙ It protects minors, including a complete ban of targeting minors with ads based on profiling or on their personal data.

∙ It empowers users with information about advertisements such as why the ads are being shown to them and on who paid for the advertisement.

∙ It prohibits advertisements that target users based on sensitive data, such as political or religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc.

India and Digital Services Act

∙ DSA is primarily targeted at the EU, its principles and regulations could influence digital policies worldwide, including in India.

∙ It validates and influences India’s approach to regulating big tech and online intermediaries.

∙ The DSA emphasis on online safety, trust, and accountability resonates with the principles of India’s proposed Digital India Act, 2023 which aims to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the dynamic growth of the internet and emerging technologies.

Concerns and Challenges Associated with the Act

∙ Intermediary Liability Exemptions: The DSA prevents private companies from deciding the interpretation of legal provisions, thus avoiding the definition of limits to freedom of expression.

∙ User Rights and Obligations: The DSA incorporates new rights for users and obligations for service providers in terms and conditions, transparency requirements, statements of reasons in cases of content removals, complaint handling systems, and out-of-court dispute settlements.

∙ Enforcement Challenges: As the DSA comes into enforcement, there remain challenges in ensuring compliance from large online platforms and search engines.

∙ Governance Challenges: The EU Commission points out three main problems relating to the governance of digital services:

∙ The increasing exposure to illegal and harmful activities online;

∙ The lack of cooperation between national authorities, and

∙ The risks of legal fragmentation resulting from national initiatives that create new barriers in the internal market.


∙ The DSA represents a significant step forward in the regulation of the digital space. By creating a safer and more open digital environment, the DSA not only protects users but also promotes competition and innovation.∙ As the digital world continues to evolve, the DSA will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping its future.

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