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Article

15 Dec 2020

Author:
Christoph Schmon & Karen Gullo, EFF

Commentary: European Commission’s proposed Digital Services Act got several things right, but improvements are necessary

... The [European Commission's Digital Services Act] proposal, which will modernize the backbone of the EU’s Internet legislation—the e-Commerce Directive—sets out new responsibilities and rules for how Facebook, Amazon, and other companies that host content handle and make decisions about billions of users’ posts, comments, messages, photos, and videos.

... while we are still reviewing all the sections, we zeroed in on several provisions pertaining to liability for illegal content, content moderation, and interoperability, three of the most important issues that affect users’ fundamental rights to free speech and expression on the Internet.

What we found is a mixed bag with some promising proposals. The Commission got it right setting limits on content removal and allowing users to challenge censorship decisions. We are also glad to see that general monitoring of users is not a policy option and that liability for speech rests with the speaker, and not with platforms that host what users post or share online. But the proposal doesn’t address user control over data or establish requirements that the mega platforms work towards interoperability. Thus, there is space for improvement and we will work with the EU Parliament and the Council, which must agree on a text for it to become law, to make sure that the EU fixes what is broken and puts users back in control.

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