EU Digital Services Act to expand the responsibilities of internet service providers
On 25 November 2021, the Council of EU competitiveness ministers agreed on a general approach on the Digital Services Act. Consideration of the proposal for the Act will continue in the EU and the trilogue negotiations are scheduled to start during the French Presidency early 2022.
The proposed Act aims to improve the safety and openness of the internet intermediary services to users.
The proposal aims at adding due-diligence obligations for online intermediary services, such as online platforms and cloud computing services, concerning illegal content in the service.
This means, for example, the service provider's obligation to put in place mechanisms to allow users to notify the presence of alleged illegal content in its service as well as an obligation to process such notifications. A service provider should also inform the service user if any of its content is removed from the service.
In addition, the aim is to encourage the service providers to take voluntary measures in ensuring that their services do not include illegal content at all or that it amounts to as little as possible.
An online market place operator would be obliged to identify and collect basic information on entrepreneurs operating on its platform and to inform of any illegal products or services that come to their attention on the platform.
Very large online platforms and search engines with over 45 million EU users would be obliged to assess the systematic risks of their services, for example. Furthermore, very large operators should introduce measures to enhance transparency around their content recommender systems and online advertising.
In the negotiations on the Act, Finland has emphasised, in particular, the freedom of expression, the country of origin principle in the supervision of the service providers and the clarity and proportionality of possible sanctions for breaching the obligations.
Service providers established in Finland would be supervised by a national authority designated in Finland that would cooperate with the authorities of other Member States and participate in the work of the new European Board for Digital Services.
A report of the European Parliament on the Digital Services Act is expected in January 2022, after which tripartite negotiations between the Council, the Commission, and the European Parliament can begin with the aim of finalising the Act.
Kreetta Simola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 568 7155
Emil Asp, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 509 9757
Sirpa Sillstén, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 469 8344