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EU Releases First Drafts For Digital Services, Digital Markets Acts

The European Commission released on Tuesday (Dec. 15) extensive potential new regulations for digital services that would cover online marketplaces, social media and other platforms, offering first drafts for the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) to the public. The draft had been rumored and speculated on for the better part of the last month and has drawn the opposition of several big tech companies, including Google.

“The two proposals serve one purpose: to make sure that we, as users, have access to a wide choice of safe products and services online. And that businesses operating in Europe can freely and fairly compete online just as they do offline,” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said in the announcement.

The DMA contends with the negative effects of some actions by platforms serving as digital “gatekeepers” to one market. In one case, it would compel gatekeepers to “proactively” implement some measures like those that let third-party software correctly function and work with their own offerings.

The DSA would entail binding obligations throughout the bloc that would apply to every digital service that links consumers with merchandise, services or content such as “comprehensive protection for users’ fundamental rights online” and new processes for illicit content to be taken offline more expediently, according to the commission. The proposal also includes transparency measures, including “online advertising and on the algorithms used to recommend content to users.”

Among the proposed harmonized obligations throughout the bloc for digital services in the DSA would be “new powers to scrutinize how platforms work, including by facilitating access by researchers to key platform data,” according to the commission.

“Many online platforms have come to play a central role in the lives of our citizens and businesses, and even our society and democracy at large. With today’s proposals, we are [organizing] our digital space for the next decades,” Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said in the announcement.

The DMA and DSA first drafts will now be scrutinized by supporters and detractors for comment. It will eventually be debated in the EU Parliament.

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