eco on the Digital Services Act (DSA) Final Vote

On Tuesday, the EU Parliament will formally vote on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). On this topic, eco’s Managing Director Alexander Rabe has the following to say:

The Digital Services Act offers the opportunity to bring the horizontal legal framework into line with the technological development leaps which have taken place over the last 20 years and thus to replace the e-Commerce Directive, which no longer did full justice to the realities of digital communication. As the Association of the Internet Industry, we welcome the fact that the DSA retains and builds on the basic pillars of the e-Commerce Directive – such as limitation of liability on the basis of notice and takedown, the country-of-origin principle and the prohibition of general monitoring obligations. We also expressly welcome the fact that the DSA, in line with our appeal, has extended the range of service providers – from caching, hosting and access providers – to comprise of platforms. In so doing, it enables those who can do more, know more and also want to do more to have legal certainty in their activities without at the same time compromising the business foundation for those who neither know the content nor have the financial or human resources.

What is regrettable, however, is the situation concerning trusted flaggers; in this context, a functioning voluntary system has been forced into a legislative corset. As an association, we also take an extremely critical view of the planned filters. The Complaints Office, which has been working very successfully under the umbrella of eco for 25 years, shows that only an assessment system based on legal expertise for suspected illegal Internet content works reliably and prevents overblocking.

It should be clear: the Internet is international, which means that only the EU should set the rules for Europe. After the DSA comes into force, national parallel regulations, such as the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), should be adapted quickly. This also goes hand in hand with the procedure for reporting and removing illegal content, i.e. notice and takedown, which should be made much more uniform throughout Europe in the future.

Even though the DSA is undoubtedly a milestone in European digital policy, it will not endure for decades, as was the case with the EC Directive. Rather, it will require continuous adaptation and further development.

From the German angle, with the distribution of departments under the traffic light coalition, responsibility for the DSA within the German federal government has moved to the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport. Accordingly, it would be logical to also locate the Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) in this ministry. On the one hand, this would ensure that the necessary structures can be set up quickly, that technical expertise can be drawn on, and that personnel and administrative resources can be availed of. During the transposition of the DSA and the subsequent setup of the DSC, it will be important to ensure standardised and consistent operation, both in Germany and in Europe.


Alexander Rabe