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DMA and DSA are here to protect digital rights of EU citizens

At least that's how eurocrats see it

24.Jan.22 12:52 PM
By Shawn Highstraw
Photo Pinterest


DMA and DSA are here to protect digital rights of EU citizens
Europe wants to get a better grip on large internet companies such as Google and Meta (owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp). The European Parliament has now agreed to two laws to ensure this. What will we notice?

Those who go online can hardly ignore a small group of giants. Companies like Apple, Google and Meta have a big influence on the way we enter the internet, what we see there and how we use it.

Two European laws must set limits on the power of these companies and impose responsibilities on them. These are the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA). The first passed through the European Parliament in December, the second in January.

This means that it is now largely clear what the DMA and DSA will look like. But the texts are not final yet. This is still to be negotiated with the Council of the European Union. The 27 EU member states are represented.

Only once these negotiations have been concluded Can the same rules apply throughout the European Union. In this article tells what the European Parliament has agreed to, and therefore what is in the law for the time being.

The Digital Markets Act probably targets ten to fifteen of the largest internet companies. Platforms that reach at least 45 million people in Europe and have at least ten thousand business customers will fall under the law. You can start to notice this:

Messaging services from tech giants need to open up their app to other chat apps. For example, it should be possible for a WhatsApp user to chat with a Signal user.

You should be able to uninstall any apps that are pre-installed on a smartphone or computer, unless that causes the device to stop working as intended (which is the case, for example, with the call app on your phone).

Also, the law should protect you when purchasing products or services on large platforms:

Platforms such as, the Amazon Web Store and Apple's App Store are not allowed to hinder companies that operate there from selling a hotel room, product or app on other platforms (cheaper).

Companies should not use a misleading design, for example to entice you to purchase ("only 3 rooms left").

Internet giants are not allowed to prioritize their own products or services over their own platforms. Apple should not simply place its own apps higher in the App Store. And Amazon and Google are not allowed to display the products they make themselves more prominently in their online store or search engine.

In addition, the DMA should better guarantee your privacy:

Facebook Instagram companies that collect personal data about you on multiple platforms (such as Meta on Facebook and Instagram) may only combine that data if you explicitly give permission for this.

Personal data of minors may not be used commercially at all, such as for marketing or personalized advertisements.

Finally, tech giants are required by the DMA to notify the European Commission of plans to acquire other internet companies. For example, Brussels wants to prevent acquisitions if they can be detrimental to citizens, or if they are only intended to suppress competition.

Companies that do not comply with the DMA can face a fine of 4 to 20 percent of their global annual turnover.

The DSA is not only aimed at the giants, but also at smaller internet companies. However, very large online platforms - companies that reach 45 million people in Europe - also have additional responsibilities under this law.

Something you should quickly notice about the DSA in everyday internet use is a change in the way sites ask you for permission to place cookies.

Often these notifications have a large, green button for 'agree'. This is next to a less prominent button, with complicated menus behind it, for if you prefer not to have the site place files with which your surfing behaviour is monitored. The new law should limit this type of practice.

In addition, the DSA should prevent the online distribution of unwanted content:

Internet platforms must act against what is illegal, such as hate speech, but also the violation of copyright or illegal trade.

The DSA does not define exactly what is illegal: that is enshrined in national laws or other regulations that apply to the entire European Union.

The companies must make the illegal messages inaccessible or delete them as soon as they are aware of them. They are faced with the difficult task of continuing to guarantee freedom of expression. If you feel that your message has been removed unfairly, you should be able to object to this.

The internet companies can get help from agencies that are experts in the field of certain illegal activities, such as the police or organizations that are not affiliated with the government, but serve a Social Interest. This should ensure that illegal messages disappear faster.

The law also requires transparency from the companies:

Social media like Facebook and Twitter should make it clear that they use algorithms. They also need to explain how they affect users ' News Feed or timeline.

Companies such as Meta and Google must make it clear when showing ads which party is behind it and why the visitor sees them. Visitors should also have the option not to receive personalized ads.

Each EU member state will have a supervisor who will monitor the DSA. The European Commission also continues to keep an eye on the very large online platforms.

The internet giants are so large that their existence also carries risks, is the thought. For example, because their choices can limit freedom of expression or the right to privacy, or because illegal messages can get a very large reach.

Companies that violate the DSA can be fined by the European Commission up to 6 percent of their global annual turnover.

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