Procedure : 2020/2018(INL)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0181/2020

Texts tabled :

A9-0181/2020

Debates :

PV 19/10/2020 - 18
CRE 19/10/2020 - 18

Votes :

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2020)0272

<Date>{07/10/2020}7.10.2020</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0181/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 381kWORD 163k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on the Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2018(INL))</DocRef>


<Commission>{IMCO}Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Alex Agius Saliba</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

Rapporteurs for the opinion (*):
Josianne Cutajar, Committee on Transport and Touris
Petra Kammerevert, Committee on Culture and Education
Patrick Breyer, Committee on Legal Affairs
Paul Tang, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

(*) Associated committees – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 ANNEX TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION:  RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND TOURISM
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with recommendations to the Commission on the Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market

(2020/2018(INL))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

 having regard to Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ('Directive on electronic commerce')[1],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services[2],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/770 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services[3],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/771 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC, and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC[4],

 having regard to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (“Unfair Commercial Practices Directive”)[5],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market market surveillance and compliance of products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011[6],

 having regard to Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market[7],

 having regard to its resolution of 21 September 2010 on completing the internal market for e-commerce[8],

 having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2017 on online platforms and the digital single market[9],

 having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 11 January 2012, entitled “A coherent framework for building trust in the Digital Single Market for e-commerce and online services” (COM(2011)0942),

 having regard to the Commission Recommendation(EU) 2018/334 of 1 March 2018 on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online[10] and the Communication from the Commission of 28 September 2017, entitled “Tackling Illegal Content Online: Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms” (COM(2017)0555),

 having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 April 2018 on Tackling online disinformation: a European Approach (COM(2018)0236), which covers false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm,

 having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet of 21 June 2016 and its review in the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 29 November 2017, entitled “A balanced IP enforcement system responding to today's societal challenges” (COM(2017)0707),

 having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (ECON-VI/048) from 5 December 2019 on “a European framework for regulatory responses to the collaborative economy”,

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)[11],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC[12],

 having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)[13],

 having regard to Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases[14], Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society[15] and Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)[16],

 having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 10 March 2020, entitled “An SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe” (COM(2020)0103),

 having regard to the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence - A European approach to excellence and trust” of 19 February 2020 (COM(2020)0065),

 having regard to the communication from the Commission of 19 February 2020, entitled “Shaping Europe's digital future” (COM(2020)0067),

 having regard to the commitments made by the Commission in its “Political Guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024”,

 having regard to the study by the European Parliamentary Research Service entitled “Mapping the cost of Non-Europe 2019-2024” that shows that the potential gain of completing the Digital Single Market for services could be up to €100 billion,

 having regard to the study by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for  Economic, Scientific and  Quality  of  Life  Policies entitled “The e-commerce Directive as the cornerstone of the Internal Market” that highlights four priorities for improving the e-Commerce Directive,

 having regard to the studies provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies for the workshop on “E-commerce rules, fit for the digital age” organised by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee,

 having regard to the European Added Value Assessment study from the European Added Value Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service entitled “Digital Services Act: European Added Value Assessment”,

 having regards to the Vade-Mecum to Directive 98/48/EC, which introduces a mechanism for the transparency of regulations on information society services,

 having regard to Rules 47 and 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, Committee on Culture and Education, Committee on Legal Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A9-0181/2020),

A. whereas e-commerce influences the everyday lives of people, businesses and consumers in the Union, and when operated in a fair and regulated level playing field, may contribute positively to unlocking the potential of the Digital Single Market, enhance consumer trust and provide newcomers, including micro, small and medium enterprises, with new market opportunities for sustainable growth and jobs;

B. whereas Directive 2000/31/EC (“the E-Commerce Directive”) has been one of the most successful pieces of Union legislation and has shaped the Digital Single Market as we know it today; whereas the E-Commerce Directive was adopted 20 years ago, the Digital Services Act package (“DSA”) should take into account the rapid transformation and expansion of e-commerce in all its forms, with its multitude of different emerging services, products, providers, challenges and various sector-specific legislations; whereas since the adoption of the E-Commerce Directive, the European Court of Justice (“the Court”) has issued a number of judgments in relation to it;

C. whereas, currently Member States have a fragmented approach to tackling illegal content online; whereas, as a consequence, the service providers concerned can be subject to a range of different legal requirements which are diverging as to their content and scope; whereas there seems to be a lack of enforcement and cooperation between Member States, and challenges with the existing legal framework;

D. whereas digital services need to fully comply with rules related to fundamental rights, especially privacy, the protection of personal data, non-discrimination and the freedom of expression and information, as well as media pluralism and cultural diversity and the rights of the child, as enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union (“the Charter”);

E. whereas in its Communication “Shaping Europe’s digital future” (COM(2020)0067), the Commission committed itself to adopting, as part of the DSA, new and revised rules for online platforms and information service providers, to reinforcing the oversight over platforms’ content policies in the Union, and to looking into ex ante rules;

F. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new social and economic challenges that deeply affect citizens and the economy; whereas, at the same time, the COVID-19 outbreak is showing the resilience of the e-commerce sector and its potential as a driver for relaunching the European economy; whereas the pandemic has also exposed shortcomings of the current regulatory framework in particular with regard to consumer protection acquis; whereas that calls for action at Union level to have a more coherent and coordinated approach to address the difficulties identified and to prevent them from happening in the future;

G. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown how vulnerable EU consumers are to misleading trading practices by dishonest traders selling illegal products online that are not compliant with Union safety rules and other unfair conditions on consumers; whereas the COVID-19 outbreak has shown in particular that platforms and online intermediation services need to improve their efforts to detect and take down false claims and to tackle the misleading practices of rogue traders in a consistent and coordinated manner, in particular of those selling false medical equipment or dangerous products online; whereas the Commission welcomed the approach by the platforms after sending them the letters on 23 March 2020; whereas there is a need for an action at Union level to have a more coherent and coordinated approach in order to combat these misleading practices and to protect consumers;

H. whereas the DSA should ensure a comprehensive protection of the rights of consumers and users in the Union and therefore, its territorial scope should cover the activities of information society service providers established in third countries when their services, falling within the scope of the DSA, are directed at consumers or users in the Union;

I. whereas the DSA should clarify the nature of the digital services, falling within its scope, while maintaining the horizontal nature of the E-Commerce Directive, applying not only to online platforms, but to all providers of information society services as defined in Union law;

J. whereas the DSA should be without prejudice to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (“GDPR”) setting out a legal framework to protect personal data, Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, and Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector;

K. whereas the DSA should not affect Directive (EU) 2019/790 concerning the provision of audiovisual media services;

L. whereas the DSA should not affect Directive 2005/29/EC as amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161, as well as Directives (EU) 2019/770 and (EU) 2019/771 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services and contracts for the sale of goods, and Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services;

M. whereas the DSA should be without prejudice to the framework set out by Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market;

N. whereas certain types of illegal content, constituting a major cause for concern, have already been defined in national and Union law, such as illegal hate speech, and should not be redefined in the DSA;

O. whereas enhancing transparency and helping citizens to acquire media and digital literacy regarding dissemination of harmful content, hate speech and disinformation, as well as to develop critical thinking, and strengthening independent professional journalism and quality media will help promote diverse and quality content;

P. whereas the WHOIS database is a publicly accessible database which has been a useful instrument to find the owner of a particular domain name on the internet as well as the details and contact person of every domain name;

Q. whereas the DSA should aim at ensuring legal certainty and clarity, including in the short-term rental market and mobility services, by promoting transparency and clearer information obligations;

R. whereas the Commission's agreement with certain platforms of the short-term rental sector on data sharing reached in March 2020 will enable local authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and will allow for reliable and continuous data sharing and an evidence based policy making; whereas further steps to initiate a more comprehensive data sharing framework for short-term rental online platforms is needed;

S. whereas the COVID-19 outbreak had a serious impact on the Union tourism sector and showed the need to continue supporting cooperation on green corridors in order to ensure the smooth functioning of Union supply chains and movement of goods across the Union transport network;

T. whereas the evolving development and use of internet platforms for a wide set of activities, including commercial activities, transport and tourism and sharing goods and services, have changed the ways in which users and companies interact with content providers, traders and other individuals offering goods and services; whereas the Digital Single Market cannot succeed without users’ trust in online platforms that respect all applicable legislation and their legitimate interests; whereas any future regulatory framework should also address intrusive business models, including behavioural manipulation and discriminatory practices, which have major effects to the detriment of the functioning of the Single Market and users’ fundamental rights;

U. whereas Member States should make efforts to improve access to and the efficiency of their justice and law enforcement systems in relation to determining the illegality of online content and in relation to dispute resolution concerning removal of content or disabling access;

V. whereas the DSA requirements should be easy to implement in practice by providers of information society services; whereas online intermediaries might encrypt or otherwise prevent access to content by third parties, including the hosting intermediaries storing the content itself;

W. whereas an effective way to decrease illegal activities is allowing new innovative business models to flourish and strengthening the Digital Single Market by removing unjustified barriers to the free movement of digital content; whereas barriers, which create national fragmented markets, help create a demand for illegal content;

X. whereas digital services should provide consumers with direct and efficient means of user-friendly, easily identifiable and accessible communication such as email addresses, electronic contact forms, chatbots, instant messaging or telephone callback, and provide for the information relating to those means of communication to be accessible to consumers in a clear, comprehensible and, where possible, uniform manner and for consumers requests to be directed between different underlying digital services of the digital service provider;

Y. whereas the DSA should guarantee the right for consumers to be informed if a service is enabled by AI, makes use of automated decision-making or machine learning tools or automated content recognition tools; whereas the DSA should offer the possibility to opt-out, limit or personalise the use of any automated personalisation features especially in view of rankings and more specifically, offer the possibility to see content in a non-curated order, give more control to users on the way content is ranked;

Z. whereas the protection of personal data, subject to automated decision-making processes, is already covered, among others, by the GDPR and the DSA should not seek to repeat or amend such measures;

AA. whereas the Commission should ensure that the DSA preserves the human centric approach to artificial intelligence (“AI”), in line with the existing rules on free movement of AI enabled services, while respecting the fundamental values and rights as enshrined in the Treaties;

AB. whereas the national supervisory authorities, where allowed by Union law, should have access to the software documentation and data sets of algorithms under review;

AC. whereas the concepts of transparency and explainability of algorithms should be understood as requiring that the information provided for the user is presented in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language;

AD. whereas it is important to lay down measures to ensure effective enforcement and supervision; whereas the compliance of the provisions should be reinforced with effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties, including the imposition of proportionate fines;

AE. whereas the DSA should balance the rights of all users and ensure that its measures are not drafted to favour one legitimate interest over another and to prevent the use of measures as offensive tools in any conflicts between businesses or sectors;

AF. whereas the ex ante internal market mechanism should apply where competition law alone is insufficient to adequately address identified market failures;

AG. whereas the legislative measures proposed as part of the DSA should be evidence based; whereas the Commission should carry out a thorough impact assessment, based on relevant data, statistics, analyses and studies of the different options available; whereas the impact assessment should also asses and analyse unsafe and dangerous products sold through the online market places; whereas the impact assessment should also take into account the lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak and take into account the resolutions from the European Parliament; whereas the DSA should be accompanied by implementation guidelines;

General principles

1. Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to submit a proposal for a Digital Services Act package (“DSA”), which should consist of a proposal amending the E-Commerce Directive and a proposal for ex ante rules on systemic operators with a gatekeeper role, on the basis of Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); calls on the Commission to submit such a package on the basis of Articles 53(1), 62 and 114 TFEU following the recommendations set out in the Annex to this resolution, on the basis of a thorough impact assessment which should include information on the financial implications of the proposals and be based on relevant data, statistics and analyses;

2. Recognises the importance of the legal framework set out by the E-Commerce Directive in the development of online services in the Union and believes that the principles that governed the legislators when regulating information society services providers in the late 90s are still valid and should be used when drafting any future proposals; highlights that the legal certainty brought by the E-Commerce Directive has provided small and medium entreprises (SMEs) with the opportunity to expand their business and to operate more easily across borders;

3. Is of the opinion that all providers for digital services established outside the Union must adhere to the rules of the DSA when directing services to the Union, in order to ensure a level playing field between European and third country digital service providers; asks the Commission to evaluate in addition whether there is a risk of retaliatory measure by third countries, while raising awareness on how Union law applies to service providers from third countries targeting the Union market;

4. Underlines the central role that the internal market clause, establishing the home country control and the obligation on Member States to ensure the free movement of information society services, has played in the development of the Digital Single Market; stresses the need to address the remaining unjustified and disproportionate barriers to the provision of digital services such as complex administrative procedures, costly cross-border disputes settlements, access to information on the relevant regulatory requirements, including on taxation, as well as to ensure that no new unjustified and disproportionate barriers are created;

5. Notes that under the Union rules on free movement of services, Member States may take measures to protect legitimate public interest objectives, such as protection of public policy, public health, public security, consumer protection, combating the rental housing shortage, and prevention of tax evasion and avoidance, provided that those measures comply with the principles of non-discrimination and proportionality;

6. Considers that the main principles of the E-Commerce Directive, such as the internal market clause, freedom of establishment, the freedom to provide services and the prohibition on imposing a general monitoring obligation should be maintained; underlines that the principle of “what is illegal offline is also illegal online”, as well as the principles of consumer protection and user safety, should also become guiding principles of the future regulatory framework;

7. Highlights the importance of collaborative economy platforms, including in the transport and tourism sectors, on which services are provided by both individuals and professionals; calls on the Commission, following a consultation with all relevant stakeholders to initiate a more comprehensible sharing of non-personal data and coordination framework between platforms and national, regional and local authorities aiming especially at sharing best practices and establishing a set of information obligations, in line with the EU Data Strategy;

8. Notes that the data protection regime is significantly updated since the adoption of the E-Commerce Directive and emphasises that the rapid development of digital services requires a strong futureproof legislative framework to protect personal data and privacy; stresses in this regard that digital service providers need to comply with requirements Union data protection law, namely the GDPR and Directive 2002/58/EC (“the e-Privacy Directive”), currently under revision, with the broad framework of fundamental rights including, the freedom of expression, dignity and non-discrimination, and the right to an effective judicial remedy and to ensure the security and safety of their systems and services;

9. Believes that the DSA should ensure consumer trust and clearly establish that consumer law and product safety requirements are complied with in order to ensure legal certainty; points out that the DSA should pay special attention to users with disabilities and guarantee the accessibility of information society services; asks the Commission to encourage service providers to develop technical tools that allow persons with disabilities to effectively access, use and benefit from information society services;

10. Stresses the importance of maintaining the horizontal approach of the E-Commerce Directive; stresses, that “one-size-fits-all” approach is not suitable to address all the new challenges in today´s digital landscape and that the diversity of actors and services offered online needs a tailored regulatory approach; recommends distinguishing between economic and non-economic activities, and between different type of digital services hosted by platforms rather than focusing on the type of the platform; considers, in this context, that any future legislative proposals should seek to ensure that new Union obligations on information society service providers are proportional and clear in nature;

11. Recalls that a large number of legislative and administrative decisions, and contractual relationships uses the definitions and the rules of the E-Commerce Directive and that any change to them will, therefore, have important consequences;

12. Stresses that a predictable, future-proof, clear and comprehensive Union-level framework and fair competition are crucial in order to promote the growth of all European businesses, including small-scale platforms, SMEs, including micro companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups, increase cross-border provision of information society services, remove market fragmentation and provide European businesses with a level playing field that enables them to fully take advantage of the digital services market and to be globally competitive on the world stage;

13. Underlines that the future internal market instrument on ex ante rules on systemic platforms and the announced new Competition Tool aiming at addressing gaps in competition law should be kept as separate legal instruments;

14. Recalls that the E-Commerce Directive was drafted in a technologically neutral manner to ensure that it is not rendered obsolete by technological developments arising from the fast pace of innovation in the IT sector and stresses that the DSA should continue to be future-proof and applicable to the emergence of new technologies with an impact on the digital single market; asks the Commission to ensure that any revisions continue to be technology-neutral in order to guarantee long-lasting benefits to businesses and consumers;

15. Takes the view that a level playing field in the internal market between the platform economy and the offline economy, based on the same rights and obligations for all interested parties - consumers and businesses - is needed; considers that the DSA should not tackle the issue of platform workers; believes therefore that social protection and social rights of workers, including of platform or collaborative economy workers, should be properly addressed in a separate instrument in order to provide an adequate and comprehensive response to the challenges of today's digital economy;

16. Considers that the DSA should be based on the common values of the Union that protect citizens’ rights and should aim to foster the creation of a rich and diverse online ecosystem with a wide range of online services, competitive digital environment, transparency and legal certainty to unlock the full potential of the Digital Single Market;

17. Considers that the DSA provides an opportunity for the Union to shape the digital economy not only at Union level, but also be a standard-setter for the rest of the world;

Fundamental rights and freedoms

18. Notes that information society services providers, and in particular online platforms including social networking sites, have a wide-reaching ability to reach and influence broader audiences, behaviour, opinions, and practices, including vulnerable groups such as minors, and should comply with Union law on protecting users, their data and society at large;

19. Recalls that recent scandals regarding data harvesting and selling, such as Cambridge Analytica, fake news, disinformation, voter manipulation and a host of other online harms (from hate speech to the broadcast of terrorism) have shown the need to work on better enforcement and closer cooperation among Member States in order to understand advantages and shortcomings of the existing rules and reinforce the protection of fundamental rights online;

20. Recalls in this respect that certain established self-regulatory and co-regulatory schemes such as the Union’s Code of Practice on Disinformation have helped to structure a dialogue with platforms and regulators; suggests that online platforms should place effective and appropriate safeguards, in particular to ensure that they act in a diligent, proportionate and non-discriminatory manner, and to prevent the unintended removal of content which is not illegal; such measures should not lead to any mandatory 'upload-filtering' of content which does not comply with prohibition of general monitoring obligations; suggests that measures to combat harmful content, hate speech and disinformation should be regularly evaluated and developed further;

21. Reiterates the importance of guaranteeing freedom of expression, information, opinion and of having a free and diverse press and media landscape, also in view of the protection of independent journalism; insists on the protection and promotion of freedom of expression and of having a diversity of opinions, information, the press, media and artistic and cultural expressions;

22. Stresses that the DSA should strengthen the internal market freedoms and guarantee the fundamental rights and principles set out in the Charter; stresses that consumers’ and users’ fundamental rights, including those of minors, should be protected from online harmful business models, including those conducting digital advertising, as well as from behavioural manipulation and discriminatory practices;

23. Emphasises the importance of user empowerment with regard to the enforcement of their own fundamental rights online; reiterates that digital service providers must respect and enable their users’ right to data portability as laid down in Union law;

24. Points out that biometric data is considered to be a special category of personal data with specific rules for processing; notes that biometrics can and are increasingly used for identification and authentication of individuals, which, regardless of its potential advantages, entails significant risks to and serious interferences with the rights to privacy and data protection, particularly when carried out without the consent of the data subject, as well as enabling identity fraud; calls on the DSA to ensure that digital service providers store biometric data only on the device itself, unless central storage is allowed by law, to always give users of digital services an alternative for using biometric data set by default for the functioning of a service, and the obligation to clearly inform the customers on the risks of using biometric data;

25. Stresses that in the spirit of the case-law on communications metadata, public authorities shall be given access to a user’s subscriber and metadata only to investigate suspects of serious crime with prior judicial authorisation; is convinced, however, that digital service providers must not retain data for law enforcement purposes unless a targeted retention of an individual user’s data is directly ordered by an independent competent public authority in line with Union law;

26. Stresses the importance to apply effective end-to-end encryption to data, as it is essential for trust in and security on the Internet, and effectively prevents unauthorised third party access;

Transparency and consumer protection

27. Notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance and resilience of the e-commerce sector and its potential as a driver for relaunching the European economy but at the same time how vulnerable EU consumers are to misleading trading practices by dishonest traders selling counterfeit, illegal or unsafe products and providing services online that are not compliant with Union safety rules or who impose unjustified and abusive price increases or other unfair conditions on consumers; stresses the urgent need to step up enforcement of Union rules and to enhance consumer protection;

28. Stresses that this problem is aggravated by difficulties in establishing the identity of fraudulent business users, thus making it difficult for consumers to seek compensation for the damages and losses experienced;

29. Considers that the current transparency and information requirements set out in the E-Commerce Directive on information society services providers and their business customers, and the minimum information requirements on commercial communications, should be strengthened in parallel with measures to increase compliance with existing rules without harming the competitiveness of SMEs;

30. Calls on the Commission to reinforce the information requirements set out in Article 5 of the E-Commerce Directive and require hosting providers to compare the information and identity of the business users with whom they have a direct commercial relationship with the identification data by the relevant existing and available Union databases in compliance with data protocol legislation; hosting providers should ask their business users to ensure that the information they provide is accurate, complete and updated and should be entitled and obliged to refuse or cease to provide their services to the latter, if the information about the identity of their business users is false or misleading; business users should be the ones in charge of notifying the service provider about any change in their business activity (for example, cessation of business activity);

31. Calls on the Commission to introduce enforceable obligations on information society service providers aimed at increasing transparency, information and accountability; calls on the Commission to ensure that enforcement measures are targeted in a way that takes into account the different services and does not inevitably lead to a breach of privacy and legal process; considers that these obligations should be proportionate and enforced by appropriate, effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties;

32. Stresses that existing obligations, set out in the E-Commerce Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive on transparency of commercial communications and digital advertising, should be strengthened; points out that pressing consumer protection concerns about profiling, targeting and personalised pricing should be addressed among others by clear transparency obligations and information requirements;

33. Stresses that online consumers find themselves in an unbalanced relation to service providers and traders offering services supported by advertising revenue and advertisements that are directly targeting individual consumers, based on the information collected through big data and AI mechanisms; notes the potential negative impact of personalised advertising, in particular micro-targeted and behavioural advertisement; calls therefore on the Commission to introduce additional rules on targeted advertising and micro-targeting based on the collection of personal data and to consider regulating micro- and behavioural targeted advertising more strictly in favour of less intrusive forms of advertising that do not require extensive tracking of user interaction with content; urges the Commission to also consider introducing legislative measures to make online advertising more transparent;

34. Underlines the importance, in view of the development of digital services, of the obligation for Member States to ensure that their legal system allows contracts to be concluded by electronic means, while ensuring a high level of consumer protection; invites the Commission to review the existing requirements on contracts concluded by electronic means, including as regards notifications by Member States, and to update them if necessary; notes in this context the rise of “smart contracts” such as those based on distributed ledger technologies and asks the Commission to assess the development and use of distributed ledger technologies, including “smart contracts”, such as questions of validity and enforcement of smart contracts in cross-border situations, provide guidance thereon to ensure legal certainty for businesses and consumers, and to take legislative initiatives only if concrete gaps are identified following that assessment;

35. Calls on the Commission to introduce minimum standards for contract terms and general conditions , in particular with regard to transparency, accessibility, fairness, and non-discriminatory measures and to further review the practice of pre-formulated standard clauses in contract terms and conditions, which have not been individually negotiated in advance, including End-User Licensing Agreements, to seek ways of making them fairer and to ensure compliance with Union law, in order to allow easier engagement for consumers, including in the choice of clauses to make it possible to obtain better informed consent;

36. Stresses the need to improve the efficiency of electronic interactions between businesses and consumers in light of the development of virtual identification technologies; considers that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the DSA, the Commission should also update the regulatory framework on digital identification, namely the eIDAS Regulation; considers that the creation of a universally accepted, trusted digital identity and trusted authentication systems would be a useful tool allowing to establish securely individual identities of natural persons, legal entities and machines in order to protect against the use of fake profiles; notes, in this context, the importance for consumers to securely use or purchase products and services online without having to use unrelated platforms and unnecessarily share data, including personal data, which is collected by those platforms; calls on the Commission to carry out a thorough impact assessment with regard to the creation of a universally accepted public electronic identity as an alternative to private single sign-in systems and underlines that this service should be developed so that data gathered is kept to an absolute minimum; consider that the Commission should assess the possibility to create an age verification system for users of digital services, especially in order to protect minors;

37. Stresses that the DSA should not affect the principle of data minimisation established by the GDPR, and, unless required by specific legislation otherwise, intermediaries of digital services should enable the anonymous use of their services to the maximum extent possible and only process data necessary for the identification of the user;that such collected data should not be used for any other digital services than those that require personal identification, authentication or age verification and that they should only be used with a legitimate purpose, and in no way to restrain general access to the internet;

AI and machine learning

38. Stresses that while AI-driven services or services making use of automated decision-making tools or machine learning tools, currently governed by the E-Commerce Directive, have the enormous potential to deliver benefits to consumers and service providers, the DSA should address the concrete challenges they pose in terms of ensuring non-discrimination, transparency, including on the datasets used and on targeted outputs, and understandable explanation of algorithms, as well as liability, which and are not addressed in existing legislation;

39. Stresses furthermore that underlying algorithms need to fully comply with requirements on fundamental rights, especially privacy, the protection of personal data, the freedom of expression and information, right to an effective judicial remedy, and the rights of the child, as enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter;

40. Considers that it is essential to ensure the use of high quality, non-discriminatory and unbiased underlying datasets, as well as to help individuals acquire access to diverse content, opinions, high quality products and services;

41. Calls on the Commission to introduce transparency and accountability requirements regarding automated-decision making processes while ensuring compliance with requirements on user privacy and trade secrets; points out the need to allow for external regulatory audits, case-by-case oversight and recurrent risk assessments by competent authorities and to assess associated risks, in particular the risks to consumers or third parties and considers that measures taken to prevent those risks should be justified and proportionate, and should not hamper innovation; believes that the ‘human in command’ principle must be respected, inter alia, to prevent the rise of health and safety risks, discrimination, undue surveillance, or abuses, or to prevent potential threats to fundamental rights and freedoms;

42. Considers that consumers and users should have the right to be properly informed in a timely, concise and easily understandable and accessible manner, and that their rights should be effectively guaranteed when they interact with automated decision-making systems and other innovative digital services or applications; expresses concerns with regard to the existing lack of transparency as to the use of virtual assistants or chatbots, which may be particularly harmful to vulnerable consumers and underlines that digital service providers should not exclusively use automated decision-making systems for consumer support;

43. Believes, in that context, that it should be possible for consumers to be clearly informed when interacting with automated decision-making, and about how to reach a human with decision-making powers, how to request checks and corrections of possible mistakes resulting from automated decisions, as well as to seek redress for any damage related to the use of automated decision-making systems;

44. Underlines the importance to strengthen consumer choice, consumer control and consumer trust in AI services and applications; believes therefore that the set of rights of consumers should be expanded to better protect them in the digital world and calls on the Commission to consider in particular accountability and fairness criteria and control and the right to non-discrimination and unbiased AI datasets; considers that consumers and users should have more control on how AI is used and the possibility to refuse, limit or personalise the use of any AI-enabled personalisation features;

45. Notes that automated content moderation tools are incapable of effectively understanding the subtlety of context and meaning in human communication, which is necessary to determine whether assessed content may be considered to violate the law or terms of service; stresses therefore that the use of such tools should not be imposed by the DSA;

Tackling Illegal Content and Activities Online

46. Stresses that the existence and spread of illegal content and activities online is a severe threat that undermines citizens' trust and confidence in the digital environment, harms the development of healthy digital ecosystems, and may also have serious and long-lasting consequences for the safety and fundamental rights of individuals; notes that, at the same time, illegal content and activities can be proliferated easily and their negative impact amplified within a very short period of time;

47. Notes that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to all types of illegal content and activities; stresses that content that might be illegal in some Member States, may not be 'illegal' in others, as only some types of illegal content are harmonised in the Union; calls for a strict distinction to be made between illegal content, punishable acts and illegally shared content on the one hand, and harmful content, hate speech and disinformation on the other, which are not always illegal and cover many different aspects, approaches and rules applicable in each case; takes the position that the legal liability regime should concern illegal content only as defined in Union or national law;

48. Believes, however, that, without prejudice to the broad framework of fundamental rights and existing sector-specific legislation, a more aligned and coordinated approach at Union level, taking into account the different types of illegal content and activities and based on cooperation and exchange of best practices between the Member States, will help address illegal content more effectively; underlines also the need to adapt the severity of the measures that need to be taken by service providers to the seriousness of the infringement and calls for improved cooperation and exchange of information between competent authorities and hosting service providers;

49. Considers that voluntary actions and self-regulation by online platforms across Europe have brought some benefits, but a clear legal framework for the removal of illegal content and activities is needed in order to ensure the swift notification and removal of such content online; underlines the need to prevent imposing a general monitoring obligation on digital service providers to monitor the information which they transmit or store and to prevent actively seeking, moderating or filtering all content and activities, neither de jure nor de facto; underlines that illegal content should be removed where it is hosted, and that access providers shall not be required to block access to content;

50. Calls on the Commission to ensure that online intermediaries, who, on their own initiative, take allegedly illegal content offline, to do so in a diligent, proportionate and non-discriminatory manner, and with due regard in all circumstances to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the users; underlines that any such measures should be accompanied by robust procedural safeguard and meaningful transparency and accountability requirements; and asks, where any doubts exist as to a content’s 'illegal' nature, that this content should be subject to human review and not be removed without further investigation;

51. Asks the Commission to present a study on the removal of content and data before and during the COVID-19 outbreak by automated decision-making processes and on the level of removals in error (false positives) that were included in the number of items removed;

52. Calls on the Commission to address the increasing differences and fragmentations of national rules in the Member States and to adopt clear and predictable harmonised rules and a transparent, effective and proportionate notice-and-action mechanism; it should provide sufficient safeguards, empower users to notify online intermediaries of the existence of potentially illegal online content or activities and help online intermediaries react quickly and be more transparent with the actions taken on potentially illegal content; is of the opinion that such measures should be technology-neutral and easily accessible to all actors to guarantee a high level of users' and consumers' protection;

53. Stresses that such a ‘notice-and-action’ mechanism must be human-centric; underlines that safeguards against the abuse of the system should be introduced, including against repeated false flagging, unfair commercial practices and other schemes; urges the Commission to ensure access to a transparent, effective, fair, and expeditious counter-notice and complaint mechanisms and out of court dispute settlement mechanisms and to guarantee the possibility to seek judicial redress against content removal to satisfy the right to effective remedy;

54. Welcomes efforts to bring transparency to content removal; calls on the Commission to ensure that reports with information about the notice and action mechanisms, such as the number of notices, type of entities notifying content, nature of the content subject of complaint, response time by the intermediary, the number of appeals as well as the number of cases where content was misidentified as illegal or as illegally shared should be made publicly available;

55. Notes the challenges concerning the enforcement of legal injunctions issued within Member States other than the country of origin of a service provider and stresses the need to investigate this issue further; maintains that hosting service providers shall not be required to remove or disable access to information that is legal in their country of origin;

56. Stresses that the responsibility for enforcing the law, deciding on the legality of online activities and content, as well as ordering hosting service providers to remove or disable access to illegal content and that those orders are accurate, well-founded and respect fundamental rights and rests with independent competent public authorities;

57. Stresses that maintaining safeguards from the legal liability regime for online intermediaries set out in Articles 12, 13, 14 of the E-Commerce Directive and the general monitoring prohibition set out in Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive are pivotal for facilitating the free movement of digital services, for ensuring the availability of content online and for protecting the fundamental rights of users and need to be preserved; in this context, underlines that the legal liability regime and ban on general monitoring should not be weakened via a possible new piece of legislation or the amendment of other sections of the E-commerce Directive;

58. Acknowledges the principle that digital services playing a neutral and passive role, such as backend and infrastructure services, are not responsible for the content transmitted over their services because they have no control over that content, have no active interaction with it or do not optimise it; stresses however, that further clarification regarding active and passive role by taking into account the case-law of the Court  on the matter is needed;

59. Calls on the Commission to consider a requirement for hosting service providers to report illegal content, which may constitute a serious crime to the competent law enforcement authority, upon becoming aware of it;

Online marketplaces

60. Notes that while the emergence of online service providers, such as online market places, has benefited both consumers and traders, notably by improving choice, reducing costs and lowering prices, it has also made consumers more vulnerable to misleading trading practices by an increasing number of sellers, including from third countries, who are able to offer online illegal, unsafe or counterfeit products and services which often do not comply with Union rules and standards on product safety, and do not sufficiently guarantee consumer rights;

61. Stresses that consumers should be equally safe when shopping online or in stores; stresses that it is unacceptable that Union consumers are exposed to illegal, counterfeit and unsafe products, containing dangerous chemicals, as well as other safety hazards that pose risks to human health; insists on the necessity to introduce appropriate safeguards and measures for product safety and consumer protection in order to prevent the sale of non-compliant products or services on online market places, and calls on the Commission to reinforce the liability regime on online market places;

62. Stresses the importance of the rules of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on market surveillance and compliance of products about conformity of products entering the Union from third countries; calls on the Commission to take measures to improve compliance with legislation by sellers established outside the Union where there is no manufacturer, importer or distributor established in the Union and to remedy any current legal loophole which allows suppliers established outside the Union to sell products online to European consumers which do not comply with Union rules on safety and consumer protection, without being sanctioned or liable for their actions and leaving consumers with no legal means to enforce their rights or being compensated by any damages; stresses, in this context, the need for a possibility to always identify manufacturers and sellers of products from third countries;

63. Emphasises the need for online marketplaces to inform consumers promptly once a product they have purchased has been removed from the marketplace following notification on its non-compliance with the Union product safety or consumer protection rules;

64. Stresses the need to ensure that the providers of online marketplaces consult RAPEX and notify competent authorities as soon as they become aware of illegal, unsafe and counterfeit products on their platforms;

65. Considers that the providers of online marketplaces should enhance their cooperation with market surveillance authorities and the customs authorities, including by exchanging information on the seller of illegal, unsafe and counterfeit products;

66. Calls on the Commission to urge Member States to undertake more joint market surveillance actions and to step up collaboration with customs authorities to check the safety of products sold online before they reach consumers; asks the Commission to explore the possibility of creation of an international network of consumer centres to help EU consumers in handling disputes with traders based in non-EU countries;

67. Asks the Commission to ensure that where online market places offer professional services, a sufficient level of consumer protection is achieved through adequate safeguards and information requirements;

68 Believes that in the tourism and transport market, the DSA should aim at ensuring legal certainty and clarity by creating a governance framework formalising the cooperation between platforms and national, regional and local authorities aiming especially at sharing best practices and establishing a set of information obligations of short-term rental and mobility platforms vis-à-vis their service providers concerning relevant national, regional and local legislation; calls on the Commission to further remove unjustified barriers by devising a sector-specific EU-coordinated effort involving all stakeholders to agree on sets of criteria, such as permits, or licenses, or, where applicable, a local or national registration number of a service provided, in line with Single Market rules, necessary to offer a service on a short term rental or mobility platform; stresses the importance to avoid imposing disproportionate information obligations and unnecessary administrative burden on all providers of services with particular emphasis on peer-to-peer service providers and SMEs;

69. Calls on the DSA, in line with the European Green deal, to promote sustainable growth and sustainability of e-commerce; stresses the importance of online marketplaces for promoting sustainable products and services and encouraging sustainable consumption; calls for measures to tackle misleading practices and disinformation regarding products and services offered online, including false ‘environmental claims’ while calling on the providers of online marketplaces to promote sustainability of e-commerce by providing consumers with clear and easily understandable information on the environmental impact of the products or services they buy online;

70. Invites the Commission to examine thoroughly the clarity and consistency of the existing legal framework applying to the online sale of products and the services in order to identify possible gaps and contradictions and lack of effective enforcement; asks the Commission to conduct a thorough analysis of the interaction between the DSA and the Union product safety and chemicals legislation; asks the Commission to ensure consistency between the new rules on online marketplaces and the revision of Directive 2001/95/EC[17] (“the General Product Safety Directive”) and Directive 85/374/EEC[18] (“the Product Liability Directive”);

71. Notes the continued issues of the abuse or wrong application of selective distribution agreements to limit the availability of products and services across borders within the Single Market and between platforms; asks the Commission to act on this issue within any wider review of Vertical Bloc Exemptions and other policies under Article 101 TFEU while refraining from its inclusion in the DSA;

Ex ante regulation of systemic operators

72. Notes that, today, some markets are characterised by large operators with significant network effects which are able to act as de facto “online gatekeepers” of the digital economy (“systemic operators”); stresses the importance of fair and effective competition between online operators with significant digital presence and other providers in order to promote consumer welfare; asks the Commission to make a thorough analysis of the different issues observed in the market so far and its consequences including on consumers, SMEs and the internal market;

73. Considers that by reducing barriers to market entry and by regulating systemic operators, an internal market instrument imposing ex ante regulatory remedies on these large operators with significant market power has the potential to open up markets to new entrants, including SMEs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, thereby promoting consumer choice and driving innovation beyond what can be achieved by competition law enforcement alone;

74. Welcomes the Commission’s public consultation on the possibility of introducing as part of the future DSA, a targeted ex ante regulation to tackle systemic issues which are specific to digital markets; stresses the intrinsic complementarity between internal market regulation and competition policy, as emphasised in the report by the Commission's special advisers entitled “Competition Policy for the Digital Era”;

75. Calls on the Commission to define 'systemic operators' on the basis of clear indicators;

76. Considers that the ex ante regulation should build upon Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 (“the Platform to Business Regulation”) and the measures should be in line with the Union’s antitrust rules and within the Union’s policy on competition, which is currently under revision to better address the challenges in the digital age; the ex ante regulation should ensure fair trading conditions applicable to all operators, including possible additional requirements and a closed list of the positive and negative actions such operators are required to comply with and/ or forbidden to engage in;

77. Calls on the Commission to analyse in particular the lack of transparency for recommendation systems of systemic operators including for the rules and criteria for the functioning of such systems and whether additional transparency obligations and information requirements need to be imposed;

78. Highlights that the imposition of ex ante regulatory remedies in other sectors, has improved competition in those sectors; notes that a similar framework could be developed for identifying systemic operators with a “gatekeeper” role taking into account the specificities of the digital sector;

79. Draws attention to the fact that the size of business users of systemic operators varies from multinationals to micro-enterprises; underlines that ex ante regulation on systemic operators should not lead to the “trickling down” of additional requirements for the businesses that use them;

80. Underlines the accumulation and harvesting of vast amounts of data and the use of such data by systemic operators to expand from one market into another, as well as the further possibility to push users to use a single operator’s e-identification for multiple platforms, can create imbalances in bargaining power and, thus, leads to the distortion of competition in the Single Market; considers that increased transparency and data sharing, between systemic operators and competent authorities is crucial in view of guaranteeing the functioning of an ex ante rule regulation;

81. Underlines that interoperability is key to enable competitive market, as well as users’ choice and innovative services, and to limit the risk of users’ and consumers’ lock-in effect; calls on the Commission to ensure appropriate levels of interoperability for systemic operators and to explore different technologies and open standards and protocols, including the possibility of a technical interface (Application Programming Interface);

Supervision, cooperation and enforcement

82. Believes that, in view of the cross-border nature of digital services, effective supervision and cooperation between Member States including exchange of information and best practices, is key to ensure the proper enforcement of the DSA; stresses that the imperfect transposition, implementation and enforcement of Union legislation by Member States creates unjustified barriers in the digital single market; calls on the Commission to address these in close cooperation with Member States;

83. Asks the Commission to ensure that Member States provide national supervisory authorities with the adequate financial means and human resources and enforcement powers to carry out their functions effectively and to contribute to their respective work;

84. Stresses that cooperation between national as well as other Member States’ authorities, civil society and consumer organisations is of utmost importance for achieving effective enforcement of the DSA; proposes to strengthen the country-of-origin principle through increased cooperation between Member States in order to improve the regulatory oversight of digital services and to achieve effective law enforcement in cross-border cases; encourages Member States to pool and share best practices and data sharing between national regulators, and to provide regulators and legal authority with secure interoperable ways to communicate to each other;

85. Calls on the Commission to assess the most appropriate supervision and enforcement model for the application of the provisions regarding the DSA, and to consider the set up of a hybrid system, based on coordination and cooperation of national and Union authorities, for the effective enforcement oversight and implementation of the DSA; considers that such supervisory system should be responsible for the oversight, compliance, monitoring and application of the DSA and have supplementary powers to undertake cross-border initiatives and investigation and be entrusted with enforcement and auditing powers;

86. Takes the view that an EU coordination in cooperation with the network of national authorities should prioritise addressing complex cross-border issues;

87. Recalls the importance of facilitating sharing of non-personal data and promoting stakeholder dialogue; and encourages the creation and maintenance of a European research repository to facilitate the sharing of such data with public institutions, researchers, NGOs and universities for research purposes; calls on the Commission to build this tool upon existing best practices and initiatives such as the Platform observatory or the EU Blockchain Observatory;

88. Believes that the Commission, through the Joint Research Centre, should be empowered to provide expert assistance to the Member States, upon request, towards the analysis of technological, administrative, or other matters in relation to the Digital Single Market legislative enforcement; and calls on national regulators and the Commission to provide further advice and assistance to nion SMEs about their rights;

89. Calls on the Commission to strengthen and modernise the existing Union framework for out-of-court settlement under the E-Commerce Directive, taking into account developments under Directive 2013/11/EU[19], as well as court actions to allow for an effective enforcement and consumer redress; underlines the need to support consumers to use the court system; believes any revision should not weaken the legal protections of small businesses and traders that national legal systems provide;

Final aspects

90. Considers that any financial implications of the requested proposal should be covered by appropriate budgetary allocations;

91. Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the accompanying detailed recommendations to the Commission, the Council, and to the parliaments and governments of the Member States.

 


 

ANNEX TO THE MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION:  RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED

 

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The Digital Services Act package (“DSA”) should contribute to the strengthening of the internal market by ensuring the free movement of digital services and the freedom to conduct a business, while at the same time guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection, and the improvement of users’ rights, trust and safety online.

The DSA should guarantee that online and offline economic activities are treated equally and that they are on a level playing field, which fully reflects the principle according to which “what is illegal offline is also illegal online”, taking into account the specific nature of the online environment.

The DSA should provide consumers and economic operators, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, with legal certainty and transparency. The DSA should contribute to supporting innovation and removing unjustified and disproportionate barriers and restrictions to the provision of digital services.

The DSA should be without prejudice to the broad framework of fundamental rights and freedoms of users and consumers, such as the protection of private life and the protection of personal data, non-discrimination, dignity, the freedom of expression and the right to effective judicial remedy.

The DSA should build upon the rules currently applicable to online platforms, namely the E-Commerce Directive and the Platform to Business Regulation.

The DSA should include:

 a comprehensive revision of the E-Commerce Directive, based on Articles 53(1), 62 and 114 TFEU, consisting of:

 a revised framework with clear obligations with regards to transparency and information;

 clear and detailed procedures and measures related to effectively tackling and removing illegal content online, including a harmonised legally-binding European notice-and-action mechanism;

 effective supervision, cooperation and proportionate, effective and dissuasive sanctions;

 an internal market legal instrument based on Article 114 TFEU, imposing ex ante obligations on large platforms with a gatekeeper role in the digital ecosystem (“systemic operators”), complemented by an effective institutional enforcement mechanism.

 

II. SCOPE

 

In the interest of legal certainty, the DSA should clarify which digital services fall within its scope. The DSA should follow the horizontal nature of the E-Commerce Directive and apply not only to online platforms, but to all providers of information society services as defined in Union law.

A one-size-fits-all approach should be avoided. Different measures might be necessary for digital services offered in a purely business-to-business relationship, services which only have limited or no access to third parties or general public, and services which are targeted directly to consumers and the general public.

The territorial scope of the DSA should be extended to cover also the activities of companies, service providers and information society services established in third countries, when their activities are related to the offer of services or goods to consumers or users in the Union and directed at them.

If the Commission, following its review, considers that the DSA should amend the Annex of the E-Commerce Directive in respect of the derogations set out therein, it should not amend in particular the derogation of contractual obligations concerning consumer contracts.

The DSA should ensure that the Union and the Member States maintain a high level of consumer protection and that Member States can pursue legitimate public interest objectives, where it is necessary, proportionate and in accordance with Union law.

The DSA should define in a coherent way how its provisions interact with other legal instruments, aiming at facilitating free movement of services, in order to clarify the legal regime applicable to professional and non-professional services in all sectors, including activities related to transport services and short-term rentals, where clarification is needed.

The DSA should also clarify in a coherent way how its provisions interact with recently adopted rules on geo-blocking, product safety, market surveillance, platforms to business relations, consumer protection, sale of goods and supply of digital content and digital services[20], among others, and other announced initiatives such as the AI regulatory framework.

The DSA should apply without prejudice to the rules set out in other instruments, such as the GDPR, Directive (EU) 2019/790 (“the Copyright Directive”) and Directive 2010/13/EU (“the Audiovisual Media Services Directive”).

 

III. DEFINITIONS

 

In the definitions to be included therein, the DSA should: 

 clarify to what extent new digital services, such as social media networks, collaborative economy services, search engines, WiFi hotspots, online advertising, cloud services, web hosting, messaging services, app stores, comparison tools, AI driven services, content delivery networks, and domain name services fall within its scope;

 clarify the nature of content hosting intermediaries (text, images, video, or audio content) on the one hand, and commercial online marketplaces (selling goods, including goods with digital elements, or services) on the other;

 clarify the difference between economic activities and content or transactions provided against remuneration, as defined by the Court, which also cover advertising and marketing practices on the one hand, and non-economic activities and content on the other;

 clarify what falls within the remit of the “illegal content” definition by making it clear that a violation of Union rules on consumer protection, product safety or the offer or sale of food or tobacco products, cosmetics and counterfeit medicines, or wildlife products also falls within the definition of illegal content;

 define the term “systemic operator” by establishing a set of clear indicators that allow regulatory authorities to identify platforms which enjoy a significant market position with a “gatekeeper” role, thereby playing a systemic role in the online economy; such indicators could include considerations such as whether the undertaking is active to a significant extent on multi-sided markets or has the ability to lock-in users and consumers, the size of its network (number of users), and the presence of network effects; barriers to entry, its financial strength, the ability to access data, the accumulation and the combination of data from different sources; vertical integration and its role as an unavoidable partner and the importance of its activity for third parties’ access to supply and markets, etc;

 seek to codify the decisions of the Court, where needed, and having due regard to the many different pieces of legislation which use those definitions.

 

IV. TRANSPARENCY AND INFORMATION OBLIGATIONS

 

The DSA should introduce clear and proportionate transparency and information obligations; those obligations should not create any derogations or new exemptions to the current liability regime set out under Articles 12, 13, and 14 of the E-Commerce Directive and should cover the aspects described below:

1. General information requirements 

The revised provisions of the E-Commerce Directive should strengthen the general information requirements with the following obligations:

 the information requirements in Article 5 and Articles 6 and 10 of the E-Commerce Directive should be reinforced;

 the “Know Your Business Customer” principle, limited to the direct commercial relationships of the hosting provider, should be introduced for business users; hosting providers should compare the identification data provided by their business users against the EU VAT and Economic Operator Identification and Registration databases, where a VAT or EORI number exists; where a business is exempt from VAT or EORI registration, proof of identification should be provided; when a business user is acting as an agent for other businesses, it should declare themselves as such; hosting providers should ask their business users to ensure that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date, subject to any change, and hosting providers should not be allowed to provide services to business users when that information is incomplete or when the hosting provider has been informed by the competent authorities that the identity of their business user is false, misleading or otherwise invalid;

 the measure of exclusion from services referred to above should apply only to contractual business-to-business relationships and should be without prejudice to the rights of data subjects under the GDPR. That measure should be without prejudice to the protection of online anonymity for users, other than business users. The new general information requirements should further enhance Articles 5, 6 and 10 of the E-Commerce Directive in order to align those measures with the information requirements established in recently adopted legislation, in particular Directive 93/13/EEC[21] (“the Unfair Contract Terms Directive”), Directive 2011/83/EU[22] (“the Consumer Rights Directive”) and the Platform to Business Regulation;

 Article 5 of the E-Commerce Directive should be further modernised by requiring digital service providers to provide consumers with direct and efficient means of communication such as electronic contact forms, chatbots, instant messaging or telephone callback, provided that the information relating to those means of communication is accessible to consumers in a clear and comprehensible manner;

2. Fair contract terms and general conditions

The DSA should establish minimum standards for service providers to adopt fair, accessible, non-discriminatory and transparent contract terms and general conditions in compliance, with at least the following requirements:

 to define clear and unambiguous contract terms and general conditions in a plain and intelligible language;

 to explicitly indicate in the contract terms and general conditions what is to be understood as illegal content or behaviour according to Union or national law and to explain the legal consequences to be faced by users for knowingly storing or uploading illegal content;

 to notify users whenever a significant change that can affect users’ rights is made to the contract terms and general conditions and to provide an explanation thereof;·

 to ensure that pre-formulated standard clauses in contract terms and general conditions, which have not been individually negotiated in advance, including in End-User Licensing Agreements, start with a summary statement based on a harmonised template, to be set out by the Commission;

 to ensure that the cancellation process is as effortless as the sign-up process (with no “dark patterns” or other influence on consumer decision);

 where automated systems are used, to specify clearly and unambiguously in their contract terms and general conditions the inputs and targeted outputs of their automated systems, and the main parameters determining ranking, as well as the reasons for the relative importance of those main parameters as compared to other parameters, while ensuring consistency with the Platforms-to-Business Regulation;

 to ensure that the requirements on contract terms and general conditions are consistent with and complement information requirements established by Union law, including those set out in the Unfair Contract Terms Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive, as amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161, and with the GDPR;

3. Transparency requirements on commercial communications

 The revised provisions of the E-Commerce Directive should strengthen the current transparency requirements regarding commercial communications by establishing the principles of transparency-by-design and transparency-by-default.

 Building upon Article 6 and 7 of the E-Commerce Directive, the measures to be proposed should establish a new framework for Platform to Consumer relations on transparency provisions regarding online advertising, digital nudging, micro targeting, recommendation systems for advertisement and preferential treatment; those measures should:

- include the obligation to disclose clearly defined types of information about online advertisement to enable effective auditing and control, such as information on the identity of the advertiser and the direct and indirect payments or any other remuneration received by service providers; that should also enable consumers and public authorities to identify who should be held accountable in case of, for example, false or misleading advertisement; the measures should also contribute to ensuring that illegal activities cannot be funded via advertising services;

- clearly distinguish between commercial and political online advertisement and ensure transparency of the criteria for the profiling targeted groups and the optimisation of advertising campaigns; enable consumers with a by default option not to be tracked or micro-targeted and to opt-in for the use of behavioural data for advertising purposes, as well as an opt-in option for political advertising and ads;

- provide consumers with access to their dynamic marketing profiles, so that they are informed on whether and for what purposes they are tracked and if the information they receive is for advertising purposes, and guarantee their right to contest decisions that undermine their rights;

- ensure that paid advertisements or paid placement in a ranking of search results should be identified in a clear, concise and intelligible manner, in line with Directive 2005/29/EC, as amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161;

- ensure compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and with minimum diversification requirements, and identify practices constituting aggressive advertising, whilst encouraging consumer-friendly AI-technologies;

- introduce accountability and fairness criteria for algorithms used for targeted advertising and advertisement optimisation, and allow for external regulatory audits by competent authorities and for the verification of algorithmic design choices that involve information about individuals, without risk to violate user privacy and trade secrets;

- provide access to advertising delivery data and information about the exposure of advertisers, when it comes to where and when advertisements are placed, and the performance of paid vs unpaid advertising;

4. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

The revised provisions should follow the principles listed below regarding the provision of information society services which are enabled by AI, make use of automated decision-making tools or machine learning tools, by:

 ensuring that consumers have the right to be informed if a service is enabled by AI, makes use of automated decision-making or machine learning tools or automated content recognition tools, in addition to the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing and to the possibility to refuse, limit or personalise the use of any AI-enabled personalisation features, especially in view of ranking of services;

 establishing comprehensive rules on non-discrimination and transparency of algorithms and data sets;

 ensuring that algorithms are explainable to competent authorities who can check when they have reasons to believe that there is an algorithmic bias;

 providing for a case-by-case oversight and recurrent risk assessment of algorithms by competent authorities, as well as human control over decision-making, in order to guarantee a higher level of consumer protection; such requirements should be consistent with the human control mechanisms and risk assessment obligations for automating services set out in existing rules, such as Directive (EU) 2018/958[23] (“the Proportionality Test Directive”), and should not constitute an unjustified or disproportionate restriction to the free moment of services;

 establishing clear accountability, liability and redress mechanisms to deal with potential harms resulting from the use of AI applications, automated decision-making and machine learning tools;

 establishing the principle of safety, security by design and by default and setting out effective and efficient rights and procedures for AI developers in instances where the algorithms produce sensitive decisions about individuals, and by properly addressing and exploiting the impact of upcoming technological developments;

 ensuring consistency with confidentiality, user privacy and trade secrets;

 ensuring that, when AI technologies introduced at the workplace have direct impacts on employment conditions of workers using digital services, there needs to be an comprehensive information to workers;

5. Penalties 

The compliance to those provisions should be reinforced with effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties, including the imposition of proportionate fines.

V. MEASURES RELATED TO TACKLING ILLEGAL CONTENT ONLINE

 

The DSA should provide clarity and guidance regarding how online intermediaries should tackle illegal content online. The revised rules of the E-Commerce Directive should:

 

 clarify that any removal or disabling access to illegal content should not affect the fundamental rights and the legitimate interests of users and consumers and that legal content should stay online;

 improve the legal framework taking into account the central role played by online intermediaries and the internet in facilitating the public debate and the free dissemination of facts, opinions, and ideas;

 preserve the underlying legal principle that online intermediaries should not be held directly liable for the acts of their users and that online intermediaries can continue moderating content under fair, accessible, non-discriminatory and transparent terms and conditions of service;

 clarify that a decision made by online intermediaries as to whether content uploaded by users is legal should be provisional, and that online intermediaries should not be held liable for it, as only courts of law should decide in the final instance what is illegal content;

 ensure that the ability of Member States to decide which content is illegal under national law is not affected;

 ensure that the measures online intermediaries are called to adopt are proportionate, effective and adequate in order to effectively tackle illegal content online;

 adapt the severity of the measures that need to be taken by service providers to the seriousness of the infringement;

 ensure that the blocking of access to, and the removal of, illegal content does not require blocking the access to an entire platform and services which are otherwise legal;

 introduce new transparency and independent oversight of the content moderation procedures and tools related to the removal of illegal content online; such systems and procedures should be accompanied by robust safeguards for transparency and accountability and be available for auditing and testing by competent authorities.

 

1. A notice-and-action mechanism 

 

The DSA should establish a harmonised and legally enforceable notice-and-action mechanism based on a set of clear processes and precise timeframes for each step of the notice-and-action procedure. That notice-and-action mechanism should:

 

 apply to illegal online content or behaviour;

 differentiate among different types of providers, sectors and/or illegal content and the seriousness of the infringement;

 create easily accessible, reliable and user-friendly procedures tailored to the type of content;

 allow users to easily notify by electronic means potentially illegal online content or behaviour to online intermediaries;

 clarify, in an intelligible way, existing concepts and processes such as “expeditious action”, “actual knowledge and awareness”, “targeted actions”, “notices' formats”, and “validity of notices”;

 guarantee that notices will not automatically trigger legal liability nor should they impose any removal requirement, for specific pieces of the content or for the legality assessment; 

 require notices to be sufficiently precise and adequately substantiated so as to allow the service provider receiving them to take an informed and diligent decision as regards the effect to be given to the notice, and specify the requirements necessary to ensure that notices contain all the information necessary for the swift removal of illegal content;

 notices should include the location (URL and timestamp, where appropriate) of the allegedly illegal content in question, an indication of the time and date when the alleged wrongdoing was committed, the stated reason for the claim, including an explanation of the reasons why the notice provider considers the content to be illegal, and if necessary, depending on the type of content, additional evidence for the claim, and a declaration of good faith that the information provided is accurate;

 notice providers should have the possibility, but not be required, to include their contact details in a notice; where they decide to do so, their anonymity should be ensured towards the content provider; if no contact details are provided, the IP address or other equivalent can be used; anonymous notices should not be permitted when they concern the violation of personality rights or intellectual property rights;

 set up safeguards to prevent abusive behaviour by users who systematically, repeatedly and in bad faith submit wrongful or abusive notices;

 create an obligation for the online intermediaries to verify the notified content and reply in a timely manner to the notice provider and to the content uploader with a reasoned decision; such a requirement to reply should include the reasoning behind the decision, how the decision was made, if the decision was made by a human or an automated decision agent, and information about the possibility to appeal the decision by either party, with the intermediary, courts or other entities;

 provide information and remedies to contest the decision via a counter-notice, including if the content has been removed via automated solutions, unless such a counter-notice would conflict with an ongoing investigation by law enforcement authorities;

 safeguard that judicial injunctions issued in a Member State other than that of the online intermediaries should not be handled within the notice-and-action mechanism.

The DSA notice-and-action mechanism should be binding only for illegal content. That, however, should not prevent online intermediaries from being able to adopt a similar notice-and-action mechanism for other content.

 

2. Out-of-court dispute settlement related with the notice-and-action mechanisms

 The decision taken by the online intermediary on whether or not to act upon content flagged as illegal should contain a clear justification on the actions undertaken regarding that specific content. The notice provider should receive a confirmation of receipt and a communication indicating the follow-up given to the notification;

 The providers of the content that is being flagged as illegal should be immediately informed of the notice and, that being the case, of the reasons and decisions taken to remove, suspend or disable access to the content; all parties should be duly informed of all existing available legal options and mechanisms to challenge this decision;

 All interested parties should have the right to contest the decision through a counter-notice which must be subject to clear requirements and accompanied by an explanation; interested parties should also have recourse to out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms;

 The right to be notified and the right to issue a counter-notice by a user before a decision to remove content is taken shall only be restricted or waived, where:

(a) online intermediaries are subject to a national legal requirement that online intermediation services terminate the provision of the whole of its online intermediation services to a given user, in a manner which does not allow it to respect that notice-and-action mechanism; or,

(b) the notification or counter-notice would impede an ongoing criminal investigation that requires to keep the decision to suspend or remove access to the content a secret.

 The rules of Article 17 of the E-Commerce Directive should be revised to ensure that independent out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms are put in place and are available to users in the event of disputes over the disabling of access to, or the removal of, works or other subject matter uploaded by them;

 The out-of-court dispute settlement mechanism should meet certain standards, in particular in terms of procedural fairness, independence, impartiality, transparency and effectiveness; such mechanisms shall enable disputes to be settled impartially and shall not deprive the user of legal protection afforded by national law, without prejudice to the rights of users to have recourse to efficient judicial remedies;

 If the redress and counter-notice have established that the notified activity or information is not illegal, the online intermediary should restore the content that was removed or suspended without undue delay or allow for re-upload by the user;

 When issuing, contesting or receiving a notice, all interested parties should be notified of both the possibility of making use of an alternative dispute resolution mechanism and of the right to recourse to a competent national court;

 The out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms should in no way affect the rights of the parties involved to initiate legal proceedings.

 

3. Transparency of the notice-and-action mechanism

The notice-and-action mechanisms should be transparent and publicly available; to that end, online intermediaries should be obliged to publish annual reports, which should be standardised and contain information on:

 the number of all notices received under the notice-and-action mechanism and the types of content they relate to;

 the average response time per type of content;·

 the number of erroneous takedowns;

 the type of entities that issued the notices (private individuals, organisations, corporations, trusted flaggers, etc.) and the total number of their notices;

 information about the nature of the content's illegality or the type of infringement for which it was removed;

 the number of contested decisions received by online intermediaries and how they were handled;

 the description of the content moderation model applied by the hosting intermediary, as well as of any automated tools, including meaningful information about the logic involved;

 the measures they adopt with regards to repeated offenders to ensure that those are effective in tackling such systemic abusive behaviour.

 

The obligation to publish that report and the detail it requires should take into account the size or the scale on which online intermediaries operate and whether they have only limited resources and expertise. Microenterprises and start-ups should be required to update this report only where there is significant change from one year to the next.

Online intermediaries should also publish information about their procedures and timeframes for intervention by interested parties, such as the time for the content uploader to respond with a counter-notification, the time at which the intermediary will inform both parties about the result of the procedure, and the time for different forms of appeal against any decision.

4. Safe harbour provisions in Article 12, 13 and 14 of the E-Commerce Directive 

The DSA should protect and uphold the current limited exemptions from liability for information society service providers (online intermediaries) provided for in Article 12, 13, and 14 of the E-Commerce Directive.

5. Active and Passive hosts

The DSA should maintain its derogations for intermediaries playing a neutral and passive role and address the lack of legal certainty regarding the concept of “active role” by codifying the case-law of the Court on the matter. It should also clarify that the hosting providers play an active role when creating the content or contributing to a certain degree to the illegality of the content, or if it amounts to adoption of the third-party content as one’s own, as judged by average users or consumers.

It should ensure that voluntary measures taken by online intermediaries to address illegal content should not lead to them being considered as having an active role, solely on the basis of those measures. However, the deployment of any such measures should be accompanied with appropriate safeguards and content moderation practices should be fair, accessible, non-discriminatory and transparent.

The DSA should maintain the exemptions from liability for backend and infrastructure services, which are not party to the contractual relations between online intermediaries and their customers and which merely implement decisions taken by the online intermediaries or their customers.

6. Ban on General Monitoring - Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive

The DSA should maintain the ban on a general monitoring obligation under Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive. Online intermediaries should not be subject to general monitoring obligations.

VI. ONLINE MARKET PLACES 

The DSA should propose specific new rules for online marketplaces, for the online sale, promotion or supply of products and for the provision of services to consumers.

Those new rules should:

 be consistent with, and complementary to, a reform of the General Product Safety Directive;

 cover all entities that offer and direct services and/or products to consumers in the Union, including if they are established outside the Union;

 distinguish online marketplaces from other types of service providers, including other ancillary intermediation activities within the same company activity; if one of the services provided by a company fulfils the criteria necessary to be considered as a marketplace, the rules should fully apply to that part of the business regardless of the internal organisation of that company;

 ensure that online marketplaces make it clear from which country the products are sold or services are being provided, regardless whether they are provided or sold by that marketplace, a third party or a seller established inside or outside the Union;

 ensure that online marketplaces remove quickly any known misleading information given by the supplier, including misleading implicit guarantees and statements made by the supplier;

 ensure that online marketplaces, offering professional services, indicate when a profession is regulated within the meaning of Directive 2005/36/EC, in order to enable consumers to make both an informed choice and to verify, where necessary, with the relevant competent authority if a professional meets the requirements for a specific professional qualification;

 ensure that online marketplaces are transparent and accountable and cooperate with the competent authorities of the Member States in order to identify, where serious risks of dangerous products exist and to alert them as soon as they become aware of such products on their platforms;

 ensure that online marketplaces consult the Union Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products (RAPEX) and carry out random checks on recalled and dangerous products and, wherever possible, take appropriate action in respect to products concerned;

 ensure that once products have been identified as unsafe and/or counterfeit by the Union’s rapid alert systems, by national market surveillance authorities, by customs authorities or by consumer protection authorities, it should be compulsory to remove products from the marketplace expeditiously and maximum within two working days of receiving notification;

 that online marketplaces inform consumers once a product they bought therein has been removed from their platform following a notification on its non-compliance with Union product safety and consumer protection rules; they should also inform consumers of any safety issues and of any action required to ensure that recalls are carried out effectively;

 that online marketplaces put in place measures to act against repeat offenders who offer dangerous products, in cooperation with authorities in line with the Platform to Business Regulation, and that they adopt measures aimed at preventing the reappearance of dangerous product, which had been already removed;

 consider the option of requiring suppliers which are established in a third country to set up a branch in the Union or designate a legal representative established in the Union, who can be held accountable for the selling of products or services which do not comply with Union rules of safety to European consumers;

 address the liability of online marketplaces for consumer damages and for failure to take adequate measures to remove illegal products after obtaining the actual knowledge of such illegal products;

 address the liability of online marketplaces when those platforms have predominant influence over suppliers and essential elements of economic transactions, such as payment means, prices, default terms conditions, or conduct aimed at facilitating the sale of goods to a consumer in the Union market, and there is no manufacturer, importer, or distributor established in the Union that can be held liable;

 address the liability of online marketplaces if the online marketplace has not informed the consumer that a third party is the actual supplier of the goods or services, thus making the marketplace contractually liable vis-à-vis the consumer; liability should also be considered in case the marketplace knowingly provides misleading information;

 guarantee that online marketplaces have the right to redress towards a supplier or producer at fault;

 explore expanding the commitment made by some e-commerce retailers and the Commission to respectively remove dangerous or counterfeit products from sale more rapidly under the voluntary commitment schemes called “Product Safety Pledge” and "Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet" and indicate which of those commitments could become mandatory.

 

VII. EX ANTE REGULATION OF SYSTEMIC OPERATORS

The DSA should put forward a proposal for a new separate instrument aiming at ensuring that the systemic role of specific online platforms will not endanger the internal market by unfairly excluding innovative new entrants, including SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups, thereby reducing consumer choice;

To that end, the DSA should, in particular:

 set up an ex ante mechanism to prevent (instead of merely remedy) market failures caused by “systemic operators” in the digital world, building on the Platform to Business Regulation; such a mechanism should allow regulatory authorities to impose remedies on systemic operators in order to address market failures, without the establishment of a breach of competition rules;

 empower regulatory authorities to impose proportionate and well-defined remedies on those companies which have been identified as “systemic operators”, based on criteria set out within the DSA and a closed list of the positive and negative actions those companies are required to comply with and/ or are prohibited from engaging in; in its impact assessment, the Commission should make a thorough analysis of the different issues observed on the market so far, such as:

 - the lack of interoperability and appropriate tools, data, expertise, and resources deployed by systemic operators to allow consumers to switch or connect and interoperate between digital platforms or internet ecosystems;

 - the systematic preferential display, which allows systemic operators to provide their own downstream services with better visibility;

 - data envelopment used to expand market power from one market into adjacent markets, incurring in self-preferencing of their own products and services and engaging in practices aimed at locking-in consumers;

 - the widespread practice of banning third-party business users from steering consumers to their own website through the imposition of contractual clauses;

 - the lack of transparency of recommendation systems used by systemic operators, including of the rules and criteria for the functioning of such systems;·

 ensure that systemic operators are given the possibility to demonstrate that the behaviour in question is justified;

 clarify that some regulatory remedies should be imposed on all ”systemic operators”, such as transparency obligations in the way they conduct business, in particular how they collect and use data, and a prohibition for “systemic operators” to engage in any practices aimed at making it more difficult for consumers to switch or use services across different suppliers, or other forms of unjustified discrimination that exclude or disadvantage other businesses;

 empower regulatory authorities to adopt interim measures and to impose penalties on “systemic operators” that fail to respect the different regulatory obligations imposed on them;

 reserve the power to ultimately decide if an information society service provider is a “systemic operators” to the Commission, based on the conditions set out in the ex ante mechanism;

 empower users of "systemic operators" to be informed, to deactivate and be able to effectively control and decide what kind of content they want to see; users should also be properly informed of all the reasons why specific content is suggested to them;

 ensure that the rights, obligations and principles of the GDPR – including data minimisation, purpose limitation, data protection by design and by default, legal grounds for processing – are observed;

 ensure appropriate levels of interoperability requiring “systemic operators” to share appropriate tools, data, expertise, and resources deployed in order to limit the risks of users and consumers’ lock-in and the artificially binding users to one systemic operator with no realistic possibility or incentives for switching between digital platforms or internet ecosystems as part of those measures, the Commission should explore different technologies and open standards and protocols, including the possibility of a technical interface (Application Programming Interface) that allows users of competing platforms to dock on to the systemic operators and exchange information with it; systemic operators may not make commercial use of any of the data that is received from third parties during interoperability activities for purposes other than enabling those activities; interoperability obligations should not limit, hinder or delay the ability of intermediaries to patch vulnerabilities;

 ensure that the new ex ante mechanism is without prejudice to the application of competition rules, including on self-preferencing and overall vertical integration, and ensure that both policy tools are completely independent.

VIII. SUPERVISION, COOPERATION AND ENFORCEMENT

The DSA should improve supervision and enforcement of the existing rules and strengthen the internal market clause as the cornerstone of the Digital Single Market, by complementing it with a new cooperation mechanism aimed at improving the exchange of information, the cooperation and mutual trust and, upon request, mutual assistance between Member States, in particular between the authorities in the home country where the service provider is established and the authorities in the host country where the provider is offering its services.

The Commission should conduct a thorough impact assessment to assess the most appropriate supervision and enforcement model for the application of the provisions regarding the DSA, while respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

In its impact assessment, the Commission should look into existing models, such as the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network, the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA), the European Data Protection Board (EDBP) and the European Competition Network (ECN), and consider the adoption of a hybrid system of supervision.

That hybrid system of supervision, based on EU coordination in cooperation with a network of national authorities, should improve the monitoring and application of the DSA, enforce compliance, including enforcing regulatory fines, other sanctions or measures, and should be able to carry out auditing of intermediaries and platforms. It should also settle, where needed, cross-border disputes between the national authorities, address complex cross-border issues, provide advice and guidance and approve Union-wide codes and decisions, and, together with the national authorities, it should be able to launch initiatives and investigations into cross-border issues. The ultimate oversight of the Member States’ obligations should remain with the Commission.

 

The Commission should report to the European Parliament and the Council, and, together with the national authorities, maintain a public ‘Platform Scoreboard’ with relevant information on the compliance with the DSA. The Commission should facilitate and support the creation and maintenance of a European research repository tool to facilitate the sharing of data with public institutions, researchers, NGOs and universities for research purposes.

The DSA should also introduce new enforcement elements into Article 16 of the E-Commerce Directive as regards self-regulation.

 


 

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

It is important to recognise the essential role of the e-Commerce Directive in boosting e-commerce in Europe. Since its adoption in 2000, the Directive has become the cornerstone of the Digital Single Market, which, with the increasing digitization of the economy and the society, should now underpin the whole internal market project.

 

However, 20 years later, new economic opportunities and challenges have emerged. New rules related to the provision of Information Society Services have been adopted to address existing uncertainties and challenges. As well as many new digital services have evolved beyond the existing EU legal framework and despites attempts of the Court of Justice to fill in some of the present legal gaps.

 

In the context of the Commission's commitment to present a new DSA package, this report aims to provide indications for the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament on the reform of the e-Commerce Directive, and the specific recommendations on the critical elements of such reform and the possible scope and content of the future DSA announced by the Commission in its Digital Strategy Communication of February 2020.

 

The Rapporteur has endeavoured to consult stakeholders as widely and transparently as possible in order to ensure that the report tackles real problems and to limit unnecessary unintended consequences.

 

The Rapporteur recommends maintaining the founding principles of the E-Commerce, wherever there is insufficient evidence to justify changing it, such as the internal market clause and the exemption of liability for illegal online content in favour of some platforms and under some conditions.

 

However, given the increasing importance of online platforms and as a result from exchanges of views held with experts and stakeholders, the Rapporteur observes the need to ensure better consumer protection and to address the risks of fragmentation of the digital single market.

 

On the basis of the Rapporteur's assessment of the E-Commerce Directive, the Rapporteur proposes some improvements to the Directive and specific suggestions for the future provisions in the DSA. The recommendations are presented into a number of main building blogs. 

 

General principles

The Rapporteur proposes to use an approach to build the DSA upon the rules currently applicable to digital services, namely the E-Commerce Directive and the Platform to Business Regulation.

 

He is also of the opinion that main principles of the E-Commerce Directive, such as the internal market clause, freedom of establishment and the prohibition to impose general monitoring obligation need to be complemented with the principles, of "what is illegal offline is also illegal online," as well as consumer protection and users' safety.

 

Scope 

The Rapporteur proposes that the DSA should cover all digital services, and not only focus on online platforms. It should also cover companies which are not established in the EU, but provide their services to EU consumers.

 

Definitions 

The definitions, which determine the scope of the ECD, proved to be robust over time and applicable to different digital business models. However, some clarity is needed when it comes to new digital services, and the Rapporteur proposes to clarify the existing definitions in the E-Commerce Directive and when needed, introduce new elements to fill in the existing gaps.

 

Due diligence obligations 

The Rapporteur proposes that the DSA should introduce clear due diligence transparency and information obligations. The new elements should improve the general information requirements, introduce fair contract terms and general conditions, and strengthen the transparency requirements on commercial communications. Those measures should be reinforced with effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties.

 

Artificial intelligence

The Rapporteur considers that issues, related to AI-driven services, such as transparency, accountability, risk assessment and liability should be properly addressed in the DSA, in order to ensure a high level of consumer protection.

 

Tackling Illegal Content Online 

The Rapporteur believes that the DSA should provide clarity and guidance regarding tackling illegal content online. 

 

Given its success, the logic of the liability safe harbours for the digital platforms currently covered by the ECD (art 12-14: mere conduit, caching and hosting), as well as article 15, should be maintained. To improve the efficiency of the rules, a complete framework for a notice-and-action process with detailed provisions on the exchange of notifications and their evaluation should be included in the DSA. 

 

The Rapporteur has supported this approach and developed detailed recommendations on the precise rights, obligations, processes, and time frames for each step of the notice-and-action procedure. 

 

The Rapporteur further believes that a more aligned approach at European level, taking into account the different types of content, will make the fight against illegal content more effective and to this end he also suggest on the Commission to clarify the diverging application and criterion of the active and passive hosting providers.

 

Last but not least, the Rapporteur believes that fundamental rights should be protected more effectively by introducing several safeguards against frequent over-removal of legitimate content, such as transparency concerning content removals, their processing, mistakes, actors and notifications and introducing the possibility of adopting Out-of-court dispute settlement mechanism to help resolve complaints of affected users. 

 

Online marketplaces

The Rapporteur believes that several improvements can be made to the DSA package regarding online market places, which can facilitate the sale and distribution of illegal and unsafe products that do not comply with EU rules on product safety and do not sufficiently guarantee consumer rights. 

 

Ex ante regulation of systemic platforms 

The Rapporteur considers that the Commission should put forward a proposal under the DSA package to ensure that the systemic role of specific online platforms will not endanger the internal market by unfairly excluding innovative market entrants, including SMEs. Large platforms with significant network effects that are able to act as de facto "online gatekeepers" should have special responsibilities.

 

Supervision and cooperation

The Rapporteur believes that given the cross-border nature of digital services, effective supervision and cooperation between the Member States is vital to ensure the proper enforcement of the new legal framework. To this end, The Rapporteur suggests the creation of a hybrid system of supervision, based on EU coordination in cooperation with a network of national authorities

Such an approach requires, on the one hand, a harmonisation of the main rules aimed to protect users and, on the other hand, cooperation and mutual assistance between the competent authorities of the Member States in charge of enforcing the rules.


 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND TOURISM (4.9.2020)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection</CommissionInt>


<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2018(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>Josianne Cutajar</Depute>

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible:

- to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas the framework in the e-Commerce Directive pre-dates the digital economy era and thus does not reflect the technical, economic, labour and social reality of today´s online services in the transport and tourism sector; whereas national and local regulation differs in the various Member States and the lack of a harmonised approach at EU level has resulted in market fragmentation.

B. whereas throughout the transport and tourism online platform ecosystem, a limited number of companies dominate the market, functioning as gatekeepers which set high barriers to enter the market, stifling competition and thereby limiting options for consumers;

C. whereas digital platforms have had a positive impact on the accessibility of transport and tourism services, as well as making an important contribution to the development of intelligent transport system technologies, particularly in the area of autonomous vehicles.

D. whereas the increased digitisation of the transport and tourism sectors has had many positive effects, in the form of increased freedom of choice, better use of resources and easier exchanges between consumers and businesses;

E. whereas the great opportunities that exist to further accelerate the digitisation of the transport industry should be acknowledged, and whereas, in the light of this, future regulation must be designed in such a way as to facilitate technological development rather than hampering it, at the same time promoting competition on equal terms;

F. whereas the Union is not yet reaping all the benefits of interoperability, particularly due to shortcomings in standard-setting, public procurement and coordination between national competent authorities;

G. whereas there is a need for substantial investment in IT infrastructure in order to be able to host the digital services that will build future prosperity in Europe;

H. whereas digital online platforms have created both opportunities and challenges to the labour market and typically rely on a more flexible workforce whose conditions of employment, representation and social protection remain unclear and in some cases disadvantageous;

1. Takes note of the important role played in the past two decades by the e-Commerce Directive in helping develop transport and tourism platforms in the European Digital Single Market;

2. Notes that the scope of the definition of information society services provided for in the e-Commerce directive has been the subject of a rich case-law by the European Court of Justice, especially regarding online platforms in the transport and short-rentals sectors, and hence an updated and clear scope of the definition, taking into consideration that case law, is needed;

3. Points out that online platforms in the transport and tourism sectors have been widely welcomed by users and their activity has lead to new consumer behaviour; notes that encouraging proactive measures by platforms can be one way of ensuring greater trust, security and safety for users; recalls however that the absence of clear, transparent and up-to-date rules has resulted, in some cases, in market fragmentation and insecurity, potentially damaging businesses and creating a significant barrier to their further development, especially for newcomers entering the market;

4. Calls on the Commission to clarify the liability of transport and tourism platforms, taking into account the specific business model; invites the Commission to set a uniform obligation for transport and tourism platforms to verify the identity of the service providers and to request from service providers the permits, licenses and certificates attesting the legality and safety of the service offered, to introduce the use of due diligence protocols, to ensure that information service providers provide is up-to-date and to take measures against illegal content in order to create and maintain safer environment and legal certainty for the users and public authorities;

5. Invites the Commission to set up EU-wide principles to clarify the notice and action processes, taking into account the type of digital service offered and actors involved; following notification by a competent authority that gives actual knowledge of an illegality and in case of inaction by the platform, an effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions mechanism should be put in place;

6. Stresses the need to assess the issue of third country market places giving access to products and services to European consumers, when there is no manufacturer, importer or distributor established in the EU, in order to ensure that relevant EU law is respected;

7. Recalls the importance of ensuring an effective implementation and enforcement of the rules affecting the online platform market by existing EU institutions, agencies and bodies with the objective, among others, to facilitate data sharing, redress for consumers, and promoting stakeholder dialogue; stresses the importance and the particularities of the transport and tourism online platform market, which require a sector-specific approach and special attention in that matter; invites to explore the possibility of creating within the existing framework a single contact point for tourism and transport platforms;

8. Asks the EC to further clarify how the country of origin principle works, including the possible derogations, to guarantee legal certainty across the EU;

9. Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the situation of SMEs; recommends that future legislation considers the differences existing among operators in the Single Market; further calls for the reduction of unecessary administrative burdens for SMEs providing services in the transport and tourism sector and to take into account that many SMEs have limited access to finance; highlights the need for enhanced access to data for SMEs in the transport and tourism sector;

10. Draws attention to the very specific nature of content on transport and tourism platforms compared to other sectors, which in some instances is required to be compliant with precise criteria set at national level; calls for a sector-specific EU-coordinated effort involving all stakeholders to agree on sets of criteria, such as permits, licenses, or, where applicable, a local or national registration number of a service provided, in line with Single Market rules, necessary to offer a service on a platform with the objective of facilitating cooperation and boosting business opportunities; highlights the importance of collaborative economy platforms in the transport and tourism sectors, on which services are provided by both individuals and professionals; stresses the importance to avoid imposing disproportionate information obligations and unnecessary administrative burden on all providers of services with particular emphasis on peer-to-peer service providers and SMEs;

11. Calls on the Commission to enhance the relationship between stakeholders and local authorities in the Short-Term Rental market and mobility services; believes that the Digital Services Act should aim to ensure legal certainty and clarity in this market by creating a governance framework formalising the cooperation between short-term rental and mobility platforms and national, regional and local authorities, aiming especially to share best practices and thus facilitating their daily business, and by establishing a set of information obligations of short-term rental and mobility platforms vis-à-vis their service providers concerning relevant national, regional and local legislation;

12. Welcomes in this context the Commission's agreement with certain platforms of the short-term rental sector on data sharing reached in March 2020, and believes it will enable local authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and will allow for reliable and continuous data sharing, therefore supporting an evidence based policy making; calls on the Commission to undertake further steps to initiate a more comprehensive data sharing framework for short-term rental online platforms, following consultations of all relevant stakeholders, and to establish an obligation for systemic platforms to share their data accordingly with Eurostat and the national statistics office of the country where the service providers operate in full compliance with General Data Protection Regulation [24];

13. Draws attention to the importance of data access, data portability and transparent data governance in the platform economy; highlights the vital role data plays for local governments in enforcing and developing policies in the fields of transport and tourism as well as in creating new innovate services that contribute to Europe's competitiveness; considers that some data is also a strategic public good and thus welcomes the Communication of the European Commission on a European data strategy, in particular the development of common European data spaces in strategic economic sectors such as transport and mobility; stresses the need to respect data privacy rules when using and processing data;

14. Draws attention to the importance of data for the transport sector, to support the technological development of AI, 5G and other relevant wireless network technology  as well as connected and automated mobility; calls on the Commission to facilitate corporate innovation, in full compliance with EU personal privacy and data protection legislation; takes the view that data needs to be able to flow freely between vehicles and service providers and thus calls on the Commission to ensure competitive access to in vehicle data for the purpose of maintenance and repair, as well as for mobility startups;

15. Notes that the so-called raw data, i.e. data that has not been processed for use, which can include non-personal data, can serve important social purposes; calls on the Commission to create a legal framework and incentive system to share raw data with the private sector, public institutions and universities for research and cooperation between interoperability platforms, in full respect of data privacy rules;

16. Stresses the need to promote data exchanges, digitisation and big data on transport and logistics platforms in the interests of greater efficiency in the organisation and management of freight and passenger flows and in the use of infrastructures and resources; calls on the Commission to coordinate these platforms at EU level to improve supply chain visibility, real-time traffic management and cargo flows, as well as simplifying and reducing TEN-T administrative formalities, especially along cross-border sections; recalls the importance of accessibility, interoperability and exchange of up-to-date and real time travel and traffic data to foster the online offer and demand of all modes of transport, in line with the ITS Directive[25]; calls on the Commission to assess barriers preventing the emergence of an online multimodal market for urban, regional and long-distance transport services;

17. Draws attention to the potential Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platforms hold in digitalising, automating and decarbonising EU mobility; calls on the Commission to evaluate the deployment of balanced MaaS systems to prevent monopolies and guarantee the enforcement of relevant laws and policies and allow for a degree of control by local governments on such systems;

18. Acknowledges that the digital economy, particularly platforms, can have a significant impact on long-established regulated business models in many strategic sectors such as transportation and hospitality; stresses therefore the need to foster a level-playing field especially for innovators, businesses, and new market entrants, including SMEs and start-ups and to build on the Platform to Business Regulation[26] to maintain a diversity of actors, ensure a good competitive environment and limit the dominance of market giants; highlights the urgency for the Commission to establish clear criteria and to provide for a definition of “systemic platforms”;  calls on the competent authorities to continue to be vigilant to avoid the emergence of monopolies in the travel and tourism platform market by monitoring abusive practices such as abusive preferencing and self-preferencing on online search engines, which can lead to unfair pricing and shopping bias;

19. Highlights that the era of digital economy should be characterised by job security and comparable employment conditions between the self-employed and those in traditional employment; encourages the Member States and the European Commission to assess the adequacy of national employment rules and the provisions of EU labour law; 

20. Points out that the functioning of digital platforms in the field of transport and tourism has played a positive role in creating new jobs, especially for young people and unskilled workers;

21. Welcomes in this regard the new Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions[27] and the Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed[28]; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the enforcement of the acquis in this area; recalls in this context  the European Parliament’s ongoing work on its report entitled “Fair working conditions, rights and social protection for platform workers - New forms of employment linked to digital development”[29];

22. Calls for the establishment of an international governance system requiring platform holders to respect certain minimum rights and protections and regulating the use of data and algorithmic accountability in the world of work; recalls the fundamental right for workers of all categories enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundament Rights to take collective action to defend their interests;

23. Emphasises the need for transparency on transport and tourism platforms, specifically with respect to algorithms affecting service, pricing, and advertising and digital trust building mechanisms such as ratings and reviews, while protecting trade secrets; calls for the implementation of the existing consumer protection acquis and compliance with European standards, as well as for further and clearer rules on information concerning the rationale behind personalised pricing, offers and ranking, especially when made by automatic decision making software; considers that consumers should be properly informed and their rights should be effectively guaranteed; believes that consumers should be able to request checks and corrections of possible mistakes resulting from automated decisions, as well as to seek redress in that context;

24. Urges the Member States and the Commission to promote interoperability between devices, applications, data repositories, services and networks, necessary to fully benefit from the deployment of information and communication technologies (ICTs), also used in the sectors of transport and tourism;

25. Highlights the need for online platforms in Transport and Tourism to promote sustainability through their services in line with the European Green Deal; stresses the role that digitalisation can play in enhancing the sustainability of the transport and tourism sectors, especially in urban mobility as well as by favouring a more efficient use of resources and under-utilised areas that do not traditionally benefit from tourism; recalls that well informed users are an important driver of sustainable transport and tourism; calls on online platforms to include environmentally friendly alternatives in their  offers and in their terms of service and invites the European Commission to set guidelines for the Transport and Tourism online platforms, providing tools and information on how to better inform their customers and users on the environmental impact of their services;

26. Highlights that the unprecedented crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly increased the demand for digital services and reinforced the need for the EU to strengthen its digital sovereignty; welcomes the Commission's initiative establishing a network of Member State contact points and creating an EU-wide platform to facilitate the exchange of information on traffic flows in green corridors and on national transport response measures; stresses the need to continue supporting cooperation on green corridors to ensure the smooth functioning of EU supply chains and movement of goods across the EU transport network; calls on the Commission to ensure the EU coordination platform effectiveness in the recovery phase;

27. Underlines the serious impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the EU tourism industry; calls on the Commission to set up an EU Platform for the exchange of data and information between all stakeholders in the tourism sector to facilitate the sharing of best practices and promoting sustainability in the recovery phase;

 


 

ANNEX: LIST OF ENTITIES OR PERSONS
FROM WHOM THE RAPPORTEUR FOR THE OPINION HAS RECEIVED INPUT

The following list is drawn up on a purely voluntary basis under the exclusive responsibility of the rapporteur. The rapporteur has received input from the following entities or persons in the preparation of the Draft Opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market (2020/2018(INL)):

 

 

 

Entity and/or person

BEUC

Airbnb

EU Travel Tech

UBER

ETUC

International Road Union (IRU)

Centre for Democracy and Technology

European Holiday Home Association (EHHA)

DG MOVE

DG GROW

DG Connect

DG EMPL

 


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

2.9.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

41

1

5

Members present for the final vote

Magdalena Adamowicz, Andris Ameriks, José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Marco Campomenosi, Ciarán Cuffe, Johan Danielsson, Andor Deli, Karima Delli, Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, Ismail Ertug, Gheorghe Falcă, Mario Furore, Søren Gade, Isabel García Muñoz, Jens Gieseke, Elsi Katainen, Kateřina Konečná, Elena Kountoura, Julie Lechanteux, Bogusław Liberadzki, Peter Lundgren, Benoît Lutgen, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Tilly Metz, Giuseppe Milazzo, Caroline Nagtegaal, Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Philippe Olivier, Rovana Plumb, Dominique Riquet, Dorien Rookmaker, Massimiliano Salini, Sven Schulze, Vera Tax, Barbara Thaler, István Ujhelyi, Petar Vitanov, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, Lucia Vuolo, Roberts Zīle, Kosma Złotowski

Substitutes present for the final vote

Josianne Cutajar, Clare Daly, Angel Dzhambazki, Roman Haider

 

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

41

+

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Peter Lundgren, Roberts Zīle, Kosma Złotowski

GUE/NGL

Clare Daly, Kateřina Konečná, Elena Kountoura

NI

Mario Furore

PPE

Magdalena Adamowicz, Gheorghe Falcă, Jens Gieseke, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Benoît Lutgen, Giuseppe Milazzo, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Massimiliano Salini, Sven Schulze, Barbara Thaler, Elissavet Vozemberg‑Vrionidi, Jörgen Warborn

Renew

José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Søren Gade, Elsi Katainen, Caroline Nagtegaal, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Dominique Riquet

S&D

Andris Ameriks, Johan Danielsson, Josianne Cutajar,  Isabel García Muñoz, Bogusław Liberadzki, Rovana Plumb, Vera Tax, István Ujhelyi, Petar Vitanov

Verts/ALE

Ciarán Cuffe, Jakop G. Dalunde, Karima Delli, Anna Deparnay‑Grunenberg, Tilly Metz

 

1

-

NI

Dorien Rookmaker

 

5

0

ID

Marco Campomenosi, Roman Haider, Julie Lechanteux, Philippe Olivier, Lucia Vuolo

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 


 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION (22.7.2020)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection</CommissionInt>


<Titre> with recommendations to the Commission on Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2018(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): <Depute>Petra Kammerevert</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

(*) Associated committee (Rule 57 RoP)

 

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1. Strongly believes that the current Directive 2000/31/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council[30] has been a significant success for the development of electronic commerce, but suggests, at the same time, a harmonisation of the digital services legislation to include a broad range of providers of information society services and to impose clearer binding rules and appropriate liability on them;

2. Considers it to be necessary, in principle, to adopt clearer and, as far as possible, uniformly applicable Union-wide rules and consistent regulatory processes to combat harmful content, hate speech and disinformation and to protect minors, as well as rules governing online advertising, micro-targeting and fair e-commerce, and at the same time, calls for a strict distinction to be made between illegal content, punishable acts and illegally shared content on the one hand, and harmful content, hate speech and disinformation on the other, since different approaches and rules are applicable in each case;

3. Understands, in this context, that ‘hate speech’ consists of verbal or non-verbal communication that involves hostility directed towards a person or particular social group or a member of such a group, most often on the grounds of reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising or inciting people to gender-specific violence; stresses that this understanding includes public incitement to violence or hatred;

4. Understands, in this context, that ‘disinformation’ consists of all forms of false, inaccurate, or misleading information designed, presented and promoted with the intent to cause public harm or for profit, and that ‘propaganda’ consists mostly of strategic communication designed and implemented so as to mislead a population, as well as to interfere with the public’s right to know, and the right of individuals to seek and receive, as well as to impart, information and ideas of all kinds;

5. Stresses that any new regulation should aim to increase transparency, equal treatment, security, self-determination and end-users’ confidence in control of content provided to them; asks for a high degree of interoperability of services and data portability, while maintaining high standards of copyright and data protection as well as data sovereignty along with self-determination;

6. Recalls that regulations should be designed from the perspective of safeguarding fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression, information, opinion and the media, right to intellectual property, of promoting media pluralism, cultural diversity and data protection as well as of ensuring diverse and fair competition and access to European works;

7. Considers it essential that the notion of ‘third parties with a legitimate interest’ be clearly defined and that such third parties have access to reliable information on providers of information society services; regrets that the information requirements laid down in Article 5 of Directive 2000/31/EC have not been effectively enforced; without harming the competitiveness of the small and micro enterprises, calls for certain online intermediaries, such as domain name registrars, host services providers or online advertising service providers, to be required to verify the identity of their business customers by comparing the identification data by the relevant existing and available databases of their commercial users in compliance with data protection legislation, under the 'Know Your Business Customer (KYBC) protocol', and for intermediaries to be both entitled and obliged to refuse or cease to provide their services, if the information about the identity of their business customer is notified by the competent authorities as false or grossly misleading; considers that such KYBC protocol should be applied to business customers and would not impact the personal data of individual users;

8. Reiterates the importance of guaranteeing freedom of expression and information opinion and the press; in view of the importance of protecting independent journalism under the Digital Services Act, strongly opposes, in this regard, further evaluation of legal content once legally published, unless this is justified by the fact that the respective content, though legal, raises serious concerns as to the significant harm it can cause; demands in any such case that action by a provider of an information society service must be based on a court order; points out that the extension of the scope of the Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council[31] to video-sharing platforms’ (VSPs) providers and to social networks with regard to the distribution of audiovisual content can, if transposed into national law without delay, make a significant contribution to curbing harmful content, disinformation and hate speech;

9. Asks for more concrete and, as far as possible, uniformly applicable rules on transparency, since the removal, de-ranking and prioritisation of content in social networks reduces the amplified dissemination of illegal content online as well as combating harmful content, hate speech and disinformation;

10. Calls for data-based commercial advertising and micro-targeting to be regulated and to be made subject to strict transparency rules; asks for mandatory labelling of paid political advertisement online ensuring its easy recognition as such by the end user; stresses that paid political advertisement online should be transparent so that the end user can see who has paid for this content;

11. Recognises that the Disinformation Code of Practice has helped to structure a dialogue with platforms and regulators; suggests that online platforms should put in place effective and appropriate safeguards, in particular to ensure that they act in a diligent, proportionate and non-discriminatory manner, and to prevent the unintended removal of content which is not illegal; suggests that the existing legal framework for the protection of minors and for combating harmful content, hate speech and disinformation and its effective enforcement should be evaluated by means of an "Action Plan for Democracy"; emphasises in this context the effective use of co- and self-regulation and the exchange of best practice at Union level and that such a plan must include cooperation with fact-checkers and researchers; considers that the dissemination of harmful content, hate speech and disinformation can best be countered by helping citizens to acquire media and digital literacy as well as to develop critical thinking, and by strengthening independent professional journalism and quality media; calls for increased cooperation between national regulatory authorities and/or bodies, both within and between Member States, in order to deal more effectively with undesirable effects and specific problems; considers, in this context, that coordination at Union level is necessary;

12. Acknowledges that the principle that purely passive digital services, such as internet access providers, are not responsible for the content conveyed over their services because they have no control over that content ('mere conduit'), have no active interaction with it or do not optimise it, must be retained, as it is a cornerstone of free internet, while active services should remain fully liable for the content of their services;

13. Calls for a requirement to be imposed on providers of information society services entailing that illegal content is not only deleted expeditiously after they became aware of it or after being reported, but that such content is also reported to the relevant competent authorities for possible further investigation and prosecution; considers that operators should store the associated metadata for a limited period of time and pass it on only in response to a request from the competent authorities during that period;

14. Stresses that providers of information society services should provide intelligible and easily accessible information about their handling of illegal content and inform content providers about the deletion of such content in any case, stating the legal basis and the possibilities of objection and efficient complaint and redress mechanisms; recalls that the presumption of innocence in any further judicial procedure must be upheld and the personal data of the victims must be protected;

15. Stresses that voluntary measures taken by providers of information society services to fight against illegal content or harmful content, hate speech and disinformation must not lead to a limitation of their liability;

16. Demands that obligations should also be graded so that platforms with a dominant position within the market or in a substantial part of it (i.e. platforms acting as gatekeepers or potentially market structuring platforms) are most heavily regulated and emerging or niche companies less so, as larger and established platforms can devote more resources to the coordinated detection of misleading behaviour and content moderation; stresses that operators of dominant platforms must not only safeguard but also actively promote cultural and linguistic diversity, as they play an essential role in access to news, audiovisual content as well as cultural and creative works; is of the view that trustworthy quality media content, tailored for relevant markets and respecting national language laws, should be prioritised and made easily accessible by such platforms; stresses that, in order to protect and promote cultural and linguistic diversity, support for European works and media pluralism, the use of algorithms by such platforms should be transparent and adjustable by end-users, so that there is understanding and options for users as to how access to the relevant content is granted, classified or limited; considers that any proposed system should be accompanied by sound arrangements to safeguard fundamental rights without prejudice to the possibility of impartial judicial supervision;

17. Calls for the issue of fake accounts to be addressed and for the profits of those spreading disinformation to be confiscated;

18. Calls for a strengthened and more clearly defined legal framework to ensure that providers of information society services take effective measures, such as increasing the use of automated detection procedures with human oversight, and act expeditiously to remove illegal content from their services and prevent the re-uploading of such content;

19. Considers that in the case of infringing live content, providers of information society services should react immediately when they receive a notification from rights holders, and calls on the Commission, in this context, to clarify the notion of ‘expeditious reaction’, which is already included in Directive 2000/31/EC; and, at the same time, refers to recent national case law, which obliges providers of information society services to take down the infringing content within 30 minutes;

20. Proposes that the country-of-origin principle should be strengthened by increasing cooperation between Member States to enforce respect for legitimate general and public interests, which requires greater involvement of regulatory authorities and reviews of existing procedural rules and enforcement methods in order to achieve more lasting and effective law enforcement in cross-border cases;

21. Insists that the protection and promotion of freedom and the expression of diversity of opinions, information, the press, artistic and cultural expressions, the property rights as well as the protection of the privacy of communication between individuals must be balanced and form the basis of liberal democracy, both online and offline; demands therefore that the use of all technologically feasible means to combat illegal content or harmful content, hate speech and disinformation on the internet, in this context, be based on judicial and regulatory oversight; underlines that such measures cannot lead to any ex ante control measures or ‘upload-filtering’ of content, which does not comply with Article 15 of Directive 2000/31/EC; underlines also that those measures cannot lead to the imposition of a general obligation to monitor all content; suggests that when technological means and specific measures in line with existing legal provisions are used, there is a need for strong safeguards of transparency and accountability, as well as the potential for highly skilled independent and impartial human oversight; calls on the Commission to adopt, as far as possible, uniformly applicable and effective rules on the ‘notice and action’ procedure in order to speed up the detection and removal of illegal or illegally shared content, while ensuring that legal and legally-shared content stays online and that any removal of legal content that might have been wrongfully deleted, does not lead to the identification of individual users, or to the processing of personal data; asks to oblige providers of information society services to make complaint and redress mechanisms available for users and to process complaints without undue delay;

22. Highlights the need to ensure that the collection and processing of all personal data carried out which does not fall under the scope of Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council[32], or under the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council[33] is done in accordance with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, as established by article 9 of the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention No. 108);

23. Stresses the need to improve market access to non-private entities, like NGOs, libraries, cultural institutions, research centres, cultural networks and universities;

24. Calls for media service providers to be given access to the data generated by the services they provide or the content they produce, or which is directly associated therewith, if the services and content are offered on global digital platforms, in which connection the provisions concerning the protection of personal data and privacy must always be complied with to prevent unfair competition; calls for strong safeguards to prevent the misuse of users’ data, including by ensuring algorithmic transparency and accountability as well as access to relevant data for researchers and public oversight bodies;

25. Calls on the Commission to ensure that platform operators make available complaint and redress mechanisms for users and that complaints are processed without undue delay;

26. Calls for solutions to enable a fair competition and equal access to the Single Market to sports events and services from all Member States;

27. Calls on the Commission to ensure that transparency reports are made available by platform operators, which contain information about the number of cases in which content was misidentified as illegal or as illegally shared and that the competent authorities make information available about the number of cases in which removals lead to the investigation and prosecution of crime;

28. Considers that the regulation of technology must be implemented in a way that does not disrupt innovation or curtail freedom of expression; emphasises that open, network and technology-neutral access to the internet must be granted special protection by law because it forms the basis for the necessary interoperability of services and systems, ensures diversity, fosters digital creation and enables fair competition and the creation of a digital service infrastructure that includes access for every citizen of the Union to quality information, media, educational, scientific and cultural offers; calls, therefore, on the Commission to step up efforts to ensure the equal, non-discriminatory treatment of all data traffic in the Union and to critically re-examine the impact of zero-rated offers on competition in the Union; points out that open source softwares, open standards and open technologies are best suited to ensuring interoperability, fair competition, and accessibility;

29. Calls on the Commission to establish measures to require platforms and providers of information society services to prevent minors from accessing pornographic content; recalls that such content, which is very often freely available, is capable of profoundly destabilising the younger generation when they discover their emotions and sexuality; stresses that a significant proportion of online pornographic content contains sexist stereotypes that are often seriously prejudicial to women’s dignity, or even help to trivialise scenes of abuse or violence; stresses therefore that defending women’s rights and combating gender-based and sexual violence requires resolute action by effective technological means to prevent minors from being exposed to such content; recalls the need to establish ambitious rules to this end, and the importance of greater cooperation at European level to protect minors;

30. Stresses that sector-specific regulations should, as a matter of principle, take priority over horizontal regulations; stresses in particular, in this context, that a future Digital Services Act fully recognises as a lex specialis the provisions of the existing Directive (EU) 2018/1808 and the Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council[34];

31. Underlines the importance of new digital cultural and creative industries and of the added value brought by digital technologies in different cultural, educational, media, sports and youth related sectors; calls on the Commission to propose legislation that enables the development of this new trend, protects the cultural and creative works of authors and creators, and ensures a fair and equal internal market for everyone independently of their region or of their Member States;

 

32. Stresses that the increasing use of the internet to market books must be accompanied by measures to ensure cultural diversity, so as to be able to ensure equal access for all to reading, protection of the principle of fair and equitable remuneration for rights holders and diversity of the material published; reiterates the need to maintain fair competition on the single digital market, imposing the principle of interoperability;

33. Urges that device neutrality be addressed, as it is only by means of its interaction with network neutrality that empowered consumer decisions can be facilitated end to end;

34. Calls on Member States, in cooperation with internet operators, Europol and Eurojust, to make notification and removal procedures more effective in order to delete violent and child-pornography content.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

13.7.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Asim Ademov, Christine Anderson, Andrea Bocskor, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Ilana Cicurel, Gilbert Collard, Gianantonio Da Re, Laurence Farreng, Tomasz Frankowski, Romeo Franz, Alexis Georgoulis, Hannes Heide, Irena Joveva, Petra Kammerevert, Niyazi Kizilyürek, Predrag Fred Matić, Dace Melbārde, Victor Negrescu, Niklas Nienaß, Peter Pollák, Marcos Ros Sempere, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Andrey Slabakov, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitutes present for the final vote

Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Marcel Kolaja

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Angel Dzhambazki

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

24

+

PPE

Asim Ademov, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Andrea Bocskor, Tomasz Frankowski, Peter Pollák, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

S&D

Hannes Heide, Petra Kammerevert, Predrag Fred Matić, Victor Negrescu, Marcos Ros Sempere, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Massimiliano Smeriglio

RENEW

Vlad-Marius Botoş, Ilana Cicurel, Laurence Farreng, Irena Joveva

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Dace Melbārde, Andrey Slabakov

GUE/NGL

Alexis Georgoulis, Niyazi Kizilyürek

 

3

-

VERTS/ALE

Romeo Franz, Marcel Kolaja, Niklas Nienaß

 

3

0

ID

Christine Anderson, Gilbert Collard, Gianantonio Da Re

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS (7.9.2020)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection</CommissionInt>


<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2018(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): <Depute>Patrick Breyer</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

(*) Associated committee – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. Whereas a number of questions related to civil and commercial law and enforcement of civil and administrative law is also of specific relevance regarding pure consumer relations, as well as online competitiveness and competition;

B. Whereas the rules enshrined in Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce (“e-Commerce Directive”) have played an essential role in facilitating digital services in the internal market, and are key in safeguarding an innovative business environment; whereas the aim of the Digital Services Act should be to update the civil and commercial laws governing responsibility for online platforms and hosting service providers to provide certainty and safety for companies, users and society as a whole, through clear obligations for online platforms, including marketplaces;

C. Whereas there is evidence to show that many illegal products and services are being offered online, requiring action to be taken under the Digital Services Act;

D. Whereas the Digital Services Act, by means of an effective and balanced legal framework should aim at consumer confidence in the use of e-commerce, while simultaneously giving European start-ups and SMEs a firmer foothold on the market;

1. Stresses that wherever it is technically and legally possible and reasonable, intermediaries should be required to enable the anonymous use of their services and payment for them, since anonymity effectively prevents unauthorised data disclosure, identity theft and other forms of abuse of personal data collected online; notes that where Union law requires commercial traders to communicate their identity, providers of dominant or systemic market places could be obliged to verify the identity of the traders; proposes that new technological solutions should be considered and deployed for both the identification and anonymity of users; affirms that whenever platforms identify users, they may not disclose users' identities without explicit and freely given consent or a legal requirement of disclosure;

2. The upcoming legislative proposal on the Digital Services Act should fully respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as Union rules protecting consumers and their safety, privacy and personal data; recalls the importance of the key principles of the e-Commerce Directive, namely the country of origin principle, the limited liability clause and the ban on general monitoring obligation, to remain valid under the Digital Services Act; highlights that in order to protect freedom of speech, to avoid conflicts of laws, to avert unjustified and ineffective geo-blocking and to aim for a harmonised digital single market, hosting service providers shall not be required to remove or disable access to information that is legal in their country of origin;

3. Stresses the importance of establishing a clear, uniform and up-to-date regulatory framework, with, among others, clear definitions; highlights the need for a definition of dominant or systemic platforms and for laying down their characteristics;

4. Notes that since the online activities of individuals allow for deep insights into their personality and make it possible, notably for dominant or systemic platforms and social networks, to manipulate them, the collection and use of personal data concerning the use of digital services should be limited to the extent strictly necessary in order to provide the service and to bill the users; stresses the need to enforce legislation to limit the collection of personal data by content hosting platforms, based on inter alia interactions of users with content hosted on content hosting platforms, for the purpose of compiling targeted advertising profiles; calls for content hosting platforms to use targeted advertisements based on the user’s prior interaction with content on the same content hosting platform or on third party websites, only after having obtained prior consent by the user, in accordance with the GDPR and the e-Privacy Directive; affirms that public authorities shall be given access to a user’s metadata only to investigate suspects of serious crime with prior judicial authorisation;

5. Is concerned that single sign-on services can be used to track users across platforms; recommends that providers which support a single sign-on service with a dominant market share should be required to also support at least one open and federated authentication system based on a non-proprietary framework;

6. Points out that in order to protect fundamental rights and to ensure legal certainty, the Digital Services Act shall not use the legally undefined concept of ‘harmful content’, but shall address the publication of content that is illegal, upholding the principle that 'what is illegal offline is also illegal online'; notes that automated tools are unable to differentiate illegal content from content that is legal in a given context; further notes that human review of automated reports by service providers, their staff or their contractors, cannot, as such, improve the functioning of content recognition technologies; highlights, therefore, that without prejudice to Article 17 of the Copyright Directive, the Digital Services Act should explicitly exclude any obligation to use automated tools for content moderation and regulate their voluntary use, and should refrain from imposing notice-and-stay-down mechanisms; insists that content moderation procedures used by providers should not lead to any ex ante control measures based on automated tools or upload-filtering of content; underlines that content moderators should receive proper training and adequate psychological support; stresses the importance to be aware that a content moderation decision was made by a human or an algorithm and in the latter case, whether a human review has taken place; stresses the need for more transparency in content review and management by content hosting platforms, therefore suggests that there be a review mechanism for dominant or systemic content hosting platforms, in order to evaluate the risks of their content management policies;

7. Emphasises the importance of entrusting an existing or new European Agency or European body to coordinate the cooperation among Member States in cross-border issues and the network of independent national enforcement bodies;

8. Underlines that the fairness and compliance with fundamental rights standards of terms and conditions imposed by intermediaries to the users of their services shall be subject to judicial review;

9. Highlights that, in order to constructively build upon the rules of the e-Commerce Directive and to ensure legal certainty, applicable legislation shall exhaustively and explicitly spell out the duties of digital service providers rather than imposing a general duty of care; highlights that the legal regime for digital providers’ liability should not depend on uncertain notions such as the ‘active’ or ‘passive’ role of providers;

10. Stresses that the responsibility for enforcing the law, deciding on the legality of online activities and ordering hosting service providers to remove or disable access to illegal content as soon as possible, including on social media, notably to protect users, and after the provider and involved parties have been informed, should always rest with independent judicial authorities, who take the final decision; warns therefore against provisions encouraging voluntary measures by platforms; underlines that the Digital Services Act should ensure full respect for fundamental rights and protect the civil law rights of users and should also ensure full respect for the safeguards and legal remedies that are available for all measures applied by platforms and digital service providers; considers that once a hosting service provider has actual knowledge of the existence of illegal content and its illegal nature, through a valid notice, it should be subject to content removal obligations, and can be held responsible for the assessment of notified content, especially for 'online marketplace’ services; calls on the Commission to consider obliging dominant or systemic hosting service providers to report serious crime to the competent law enforcement authority, upon obtaining actual knowledge of such a crime;

11. Underlines that illegal content should be removed where it is hosted, and that access providers shall not be required to block access to content;

12. Stresses that proportionate sanctions should be applied to violations of the law, which shall not encompass excluding individuals from digital services;

13. Emphasises that the spread of legal but potentially harmful content such as disinformation and hate speech on social media should be contained by giving users control over content proposed to them; stresses that curating content on the basis of tracking user actions should require the user’s prior and fully informed consent, and that users refusing to consent should be given other fair and reasonable options for accessing the service; proposes that users of social networks should have a right to see their timeline in chronological order, with or without any content curation; suggests that platforms that are considered dominant or systemic should provide an API for users that allows them to have content curated by software or services of their choice, where this is technically possible; underlines that platforms should ensure higher transparency in automated decision-making processes by making sure that algorithms are not biased, and that the decision making processes within an algorithmic system must always remain comprehensible and as transparent as possible; insists that the Digital Services Act must prohibit content moderation practices that are discriminatory;

14. Stresses that, in order to overcome the lock-in effect of centralised networks and to ensure competition and consumer choice, users of dominant social media services and messaging services should be given the ability to access cross-platform interaction via open interfaces (interconnectivity); calls on the Commission to prohibit the imposition of a proprietary and closed ecosystem for the use of digital products and services in different environments, in order to allow genuine and high level interoperability, providing these products and services in a format that is open and allows its exportation to any digital environment;

15. Stresses the need for the Digital Services Act to provide for specific and detailed rules, such as clarifying the provisions for platforms and social media services; considers that the conditions for the validity and follow-up of content notifications need to be specified; also considers that the prevention and sanctioning of abuses, which notably consist of repeatedly submitting wrongful or abusive notifications of content, should be built upon the existing case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union;

Further highlights the need to limit the responsibility of platforms regarding services, notably with media content, which are already under the editorial control of a content provider, which is itself subject to comprehensive regulation as well as independent and effective supervision by an acknowledged independent competent authority, according to a notification and action system that respects the principles enshrined in the e-Commerce Directive; considers that, smaller commercial and non-commercial providers shall not be subject to the same obligations; emphasises that any new legal framework in the field of the digital services must be manageable for European SMEs including start-ups and should therefore include proportionate obligations and clear safeguards for all sectors; stresses that the rules provided by the Digital Services Act should prevent platform operators from altering content under the editorial control of a content provider, as provided by Union law; underlines that if there is a need to take down any media content, it must be ensured that this can only be done based on a court order; content providers shall be heard before disabling access to content, except where this would hinder or jeopardise any ongoing criminal investigation; considers that adequate redress mechanisms, both via dispute settlement bodies and judicial authorities, should be made available, while applying reasonable time-frames; is of the opinion that commercial hosting service providers that are considered dominant or systemic should provide a publicly and anonymously accessible mechanism for reporting allegedly illegal content published on their platforms; emphasises in this context that the Digital Services Act shall neither undermine the rules of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive nor render them obsolete; highlights that right holders should be granted access to the non-personal data generated by or related to their content on platforms, under the conditions provided by Union law, and following proper impact assessment;

16. Strongly recommends that platforms serving as online marketplaces provide users with information about the main parameters determining the order and rank of products presented to users as a result of their search queries, in particular if the result of a search query has been influenced by any remuneration paid by a supplier, or in cases where the platform operator acts as supplier for some of the products appearing as results of the search query;

17. Stresses the importance to extend the territorial scope of the Digital Services Act to cover also the activities of digital service providers established in third countries as long as they offer their services in the Union; suggests that where intermediaries are established in a third country, they should designate a legal representative, established in the Union, who can be held accountable for the products or services they offer;

18. Suggests that platforms providing a reputation system for the suppliers of goods or services must provide information about how such reputation scores are generated; recommends in this respect that reviews feeding into such reputation systems should be based on genuine experiences and originate from a party to the transaction; stresses that no review should be published if its author has received any benefit for giving a specific positive or negative review;

19. Points that the Digital Services Act should pay special attention to users with disabilities and guarantee their accessibility to digital services; the Commission should encourage service providers to develop technical tools that allow persons with disabilities living in the Union to properly use and benefit from Internet services;

20. Recommends that platforms providing a reputation system for the suppliers of goods or services allow for existing reviews to be transferred to the reputation system of another platform upon request of the supplier as well as upon termination of the platform-supplier contract; stresses that consumers need to  be informed of the origin of reviews if they were transferred from another platform.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

2.9.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

1

3

Members present for the final vote

Gunnar Beck, Geoffroy Didier, Angel Dzhambazki, Ibán García Del Blanco, Jean-Paul Garraud, Esteban González Pons, Mislav Kolakušić, Gilles Lebreton, Karen Melchior, Franco Roberti, Marcos Ros Sempere, Stéphane Séjourné, Raffaele Stancanelli, Marie Toussaint, Adrián Vázquez Lázara, Axel Voss, Marion Walsmann, Tiemo Wölken, Lara Wolters, Javier Zarzalejos

Substitutes present for the final vote

Patrick Breyer, Emmanuel Maurel, Emil Radev

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Bart Groothuis

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

20

+

EPP

Geoffroy Didier, Esteban González Pons, Emil Radev, Axel Voss, Marion Walsmann

S&D

Ibán García Del Blanco, Franco Roberti, Marcos Ros Sempere, Tiemo Wölken, Lara Wolters

RENEW

Karen Melchior, Bart Groothuis, Stéphane Séjourné, Adrián Vázquez Lázara

VERTS/ALE

Patrick Breyer, Marie Toussain

ECR

Angel Dzhambazki, Raffaele Stancanelli

GUE/NGL

Emmanuel Maurel

NI

Mislav Kolakušić

 

1

-

ID

Gunnar Beck

 

3

0

EPP

Javier Zarzalejos

ID

Jean‑Paul Garraud, Gilles Lebreton

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS (16.7.2020)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection</CommissionInt>


<Titre>with recommendations to the Commission on Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2018(INL))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion (*): <Depute>Paul Tang</Depute>

(Initiative – Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure)

(*)Associated committees – Rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible:

  to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1. Underlines that digital services and their underlying algorithms need to fully respect fundamental rights, especially privacy, the protection of personal data, non-discrimination and the freedom of expression and information and the rights of the child, as enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union; calls therefore on the Commission to implement an obligation of non-discrimination, transparency and explainability of algorithms, penalties to enforce such obligations, and the possibility of human intervention, as well as other compliance measures, such as monitoring, evaluation, independent audits and specific stress tests to assist and enforce compliance; believes that a risk-based approach should be followed where stricter rules would be applied for algorithms that pose potential threats to fundamental rights and freedoms; underlines that the core of the concept of transparency and explainability of algorithms should be that the information provided for the user is presented in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language, in particular for any information addressed specifically to a child;

2. Emphasises that the rapid development of digital services requires a strong futureproof legislative framework to protect personal data and privacy; notes that the e-Commerce Directive dates back to 2000, however, the data protection regime is significantly updated since then; recalls therefore that any future provision of the DSA fully respects the broad framework of fundamental rights and the European regime on privacy and data protection; stresses in this regard that all digital service providers need to fully respect Union data protection law, namely Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council (GDPR) and Directive (EC) 2002/58 of the European Parliament and of the Council (ePrivacy), currently under revision the freedom of expression and non-discrimination, and to ensure the security and safety of their systems and services;

3. Stresses the importance to apply effective end-to-end encryption to data, as it is essential for trust in and security on the Internet and effectively prevents unauthorized third party access; underlines that the DSA should provide a level-playing field by offering legal clarity regarding the concepts and definitions included in the legislation and by applying to all relevant actors offering digital services in the Union, regardless of whether they are established inside or outside the Union; stresses that the DSA should be future-proof and applicable to the emergence of new technologies with an impact on the digital single market; stresses that the DSA should uphold the right to use digital services anonymously, where the nature of the service or the existing legislation does not require the identification or authentication of the user or the customer;

4. Notes that since the online activities of individuals allow for deep insights into their personality and make it possible to manipulate them, the general and indiscriminate collection of personal data concerning users actions and interactions online interferes disproportionately with the right to privacy; confirms that users have a right not to be subject to pervasive tracking when using digital services; stresses that in the spirit of the jurisprudence on communications metadata, public authorities shall be given access to a user’s subscriber and metadata only to investigate suspects of serious crime with prior judicial authorisation; is convinced, however that digital service providers must not retain data for law enforcement purposes unless a targeted retention of an individual user’s data is directly ordered by an independent competent public authority in line with Union law;

5. Notes the unnecessary collection of personal data by digital services at the point of registration for a service, such as gender, mobile phone number, e-mail address and postal address, often caused by the use of single-sign in possibilities; calls on the Commission to create a public service as an alternative to private single sign-in systems. Underlines that this service should be developed so that the collection of identifiable sign-in data by the sign-in provider is technically impossible and data gathered is kept to an absolute minimum; calls on the Commission to introduce an obligation on digital services to always also offer a manual sign-in option, set by default; recommends the Commission as well to create, as a public service, an age verification system for users of digital services, especially in order to protect minors; emphasises that both public services should not be used to track the users cross-site or used commercially, should be secure, transparent, only process data necessary for the identification of the user, and should not apply to any other digital services than those that require personal identification, authentication, or age verification, and should only be used with a legitimate purpose, and in no way be used to restrain general access to the internet; underlines that where a certain type of official identification is needed offline, an equivalent secure online electronic identification system needs to be created;

6. Emphasises the importance of user empowerment with regard to the enforcement of their own fundamental rights online; reiterates that digital service providers must respect and enable their users’ right to data portability as laid down in Union law; stresses the difficulties that arise for individuals who want to enforce their individual data protection and privacy rights against dominant platforms, which are active on multiple markets and have multiple affiliates; requests therefore Member States and digital service providers to put in place transparent, easy, effective, fair, and expeditious complaint and redress mechanisms to allow individuals to avail of and enforce their rights under the GDPR, as well as to allow users to challenge the taking offline of their content; encourages digital service providers to create a single point of contact for all their underlying digital platforms, wherefrom user requests can be forwarded to the correct recipient; further notes that users should always be explicitly informed whether they are engaging with a human or a machine;

7. Points out that biometric data is considered to be a special category of personal data with specific rules for processing; notes that biometrics can and are increasingly used for identification and authentication of individuals, including in a number of sensitive areas such as banking and essential services such as healthcare, which, regardless of the potential advantages it might provide specifically the higher level of authenticity compared to alphanumeric security features or PIN codes, when physical presence, when obtaining essential services, is difficult, entails significant risks to and serious interferences with the rights to privacy and data protection, particularly when carried out without the consent of the data subject, as well as enabling identity fraud; calls therefore on the Commission to incorporate in its DSA the obligation upon digital service providers to store biometric data only on the device itself, unless central storage is allowed by law, to always give users of digital services an alternative for using biometric data set by default for the functioning of a service, and the obligation to clearly inform the customers on the risks of using biometric data; stresses that a digital service may not be refused where the individual does not consent to use biometric data;

8. Notes the potential negative impact of personalised advertising, in particular micro-targeted and behavioural advertisement, as carried out by ad-tracking intermediaries and real-time bidding platforms, and of assessment of individuals without their consent, especially of minors, by interfering in the private life of the individuals, posing questions as to the collection and use of the data used to personalise advertising and to its potential to disrupt the functioning of democratic processes and elections, offering products or services or setting prices; is aware of the initiative of online platforms to introduce safeguards for instance transparency and enhanced user control and choice as outlined in the Code of Practice on Disinformation; calls therefore on the Commission to introduce strict limitations on targeted advertising based on the collection of personal data, starting with introducing a prohibition on cross-context behavioural advertisement without hurting small and mediums sized companies; reminds that currently, the ePrivacy Directive only allows targeted advertising subject to an opt-in consent, otherwise making it illegal, and calls on the Commission to prohibit the use of discriminatory practices for the provision of services or products;

9. Observes how digital services cooperate with the offline world, for example in the transport and the hospitality sectors; notes that local governments and the public sector can benefit from data of certain types of digital services to improve, for example, their urban planning policies; reminds that the collection, use and transfer of personal data, also between the private and the public sector is subject to the provisions of the GDPR; calls therefore on the Commission to make its proposal for the DSA not be incompatible with this aim;

10. Calls for increased cooperation with regard to regulatory oversight of digital services, therefore calls on the Commission to set up, a system for the supervision of the application of DSA and digital services, through cooperation of national and European oversight bodies and annual independent, external audits, that focus on digital service providers’ algorithms, internal policies and the correct working of internal checks and balances with due regard to Union law and in all circumstances to the fundamental rights of the services’ users, taking into account the fundamental importance of non-discrimination and the freedom of expression and information in an open and democratic society, and to task EU agencies and competent national supervisory authorities with the oversight of the implementation of the DSA;

11. Notes with concern that supervisory authorities in the Member States are under strain given the increased tasks and responsibilities to protect personal data and their lack of adequate financial and human resources; calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of having large multinational tech companies to contribute to the resources of supervisory authorities;

12. Notes that digital services use advanced algorithms to analyse or predict personal preferences, interests or behaviour, which are used to disseminate and order the content shown to the users of their services; stresses that how these algorithms work and order the shown material, are not visible or explained to the users, which takes away their choice and control, enables the creation of echo chambers and leads to distrust in digital services; calls therefore on the Commission to compel in its DSA proposal digital services to offer the possibility to see content in a non-curated order, give more control to users on the way content is ranked to them, including options to a ranking outside their ordinary content consumption habits and to opt out completely of any content curation; calls on the Commission also to work out a duty of care regime that makes digital services responsible and accountable for content curation, which should be defined in detailed sectoral guidelines and to oblige transparency on the way digital services curate content;

13. Stresses that in line with the principle of data minimisation established by the GDPR, the DSA should require intermediaries of digital services to enable to the maximum extent possible the anonymous use of their services and payment for them wherever it is technically possible and not restricted by specific legislation, as anonymity effectively prevents unauthorized disclosure, identity theft and other forms of abuse of personal data collected online; highlights that only where existing legislation requires businesses to communicate their identity, providers of major market places could be obliged to verify their identity, while in other cases the right to use digital services anonymously should be upheld;

14. Emphasises that there are certain differences still between online and offline worlds, for instance, in terms of anonymity, the absence of a governing entity, between the balances of power and technical capabilities; highlights that because of the nature of the digital ecosystem, illegal content online can be proliferated easily and therefore its negative impact amplified within a very short period of time; notes that illegal content online can undermine trust in the digital services, as well as may also have serious and long-lasting consequences for the safety and fundamental rights of individuals; considers it is important to outline that what is regarded illegal content offline should be regarded as illegal content online;

15. Takes the position that, in this regard, any measure in the DSA should concern illegal content only as it is defined in Union law and national jurisdictions and should not include legally vague and undefined terms, such as “harmful content”, as targeting such content could put fundamental rights, especially the freedom of expression at serious risk;

16. Stresses that the responsibility for enforcing the law, deciding on the legality of online activities and content, as well as ordering hosting service providers to remove or disable access to illegal content, rests with independent competent public authorities; underlines the need to ensure that official decisions to remove content or disable access to it by independent competent public authorities are accurate, well-founded and respect fundamental rights;

17. Calls for the cooperation between independent competent public authorities and hosting service providers to be improved to ensure swift and correct flow of information, correct and timely removal or disabling access to illegal content, thus ordered by the independent competent public authorities and to guarantee the successful investigation and prosecution of potential crimes;

18. Reiterates that access to judicial redress should be available to content providers to satisfy the right to effective remedy; urges therefore the Commission to adopt rules on transparent notice-and-action mechanisms providing for adequate safeguards, for transparent, effective, fair, and expeditious complaint mechanism and possibilities to seek effective remedies against content removal;

19. Highlights in this context that in order to protect freedom of expression, avoid conflicts of laws, avert unjustified and ineffective geo-blocking and to aim for a harmonised digital single market, hosting service providers should not be required to apply one Member State’s national restrictions on freedom of expression in another Member State or to remove or disable access to information that is legal in their country of establishment;

20. Notes consequently with concern, the increasing fragmentation of national laws concerning the fight against illegal content, or content that can be considered harmful; therefore emphasises the need to strengthen cooperation between the Member States; underlines the importance of such a dialogue, in particular regarding the differing national designations of what constitutes illegal content;

21. Calls on digital service providers, who on their own initiative take allegedly illegal content offline, to do so in a diligent, proportionate and non-discriminatory manner, and with due regard in all circumstances to the fundamental rights of the users, and to take into account especially the fundamental importance of the freedom of expression and information in an open and democratic society with a view to avoiding the removal of content, which is not illegal; highlights, in this regard, that transparency obligations should be imposed on online intermediaries regarding the criteria applied to decisions on removals or disabling of access to content and the technology used to guarantee the application of necessary safeguards, non-discrimination and unnecessary removals or disabling of access; further calls on digital service providers to take the necessary measures to identify and label content uploaded by social bots;

22. Notes in this regard, that automated tools are currently unable to differentiate illegal content from content that is legal in a given context and underlines that any such tool be subject to human oversight and to full transparency of design and performance; highlights that a review of automated reports by service providers, their staff or their contractors does not solve this problem as private staff lack the independence, qualification and accountability of public authorities; therefore stresses that the DSA should explicitly prohibit any obligation on hosting service providers or other technical intermediaries to use automated tools for content moderation; requests instead, that digital service providers, who on their own initiative want to restrict certain legal content of their users, to explore the possibility of labelling rather than taking that content offline;

23. Stresses that public authorities should not impose a general obligation on digital service providers, neither de jure nor de facto, including through ex ante measures, to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor a general obligation to actively seek, moderate or filter content indicating illegal activity; is also convinced that digital service providers should not be required to prevent the upload of illegal content; suggests therefore, where technologically feasible, based on sufficiently substantiated orders by independent competent public authorities, and taking full account of the specific context of the content, that digital service providers may be required to execute periodic searches for distinct pieces of content that a court had already declared unlawful, provided that the monitoring of and search for the information concerned by such an injunction are limited to information conveying a message the content of which remains essentially unchanged compared with the content which gave rise to the finding of illegality and containing the elements specified in the injunction, which, in line with the judgment of the Court of Justice of 3 October 2019 in Case C-18/18[35], are identical or equivalent to the extent that would not require the host provider to carry out an independent assessment of that content;

24. Calls on the Commission to consider obliging hosting service providers to report illegal content constituting a serious crime to the competent law enforcement authority, upon becoming aware of it; calls also on the Commission, Member States and hosting service providers to establish transparent notice mechanisms for users to notify the relevant authorities of potentially illegal content; requests further the Member States to improve access to and the efficiency of their justice and law enforcement systems in relation to determining the illegality of online content and in relation to dispute resolution concerning deleting or disabling access to content;

25. Highlights that, in order to constructively build upon the rules of the e-Commerce Directive and to ensure legal certainty, applicable legislation should be proportionate and should spell out the explicit duties of digital service providers rather than imposing a general duty of care; emphasises that certain duties can be further specified by sectoral legislation; highlights that the legal regime for digital providers liability should not depend on uncertain notions such as the ‘active’ or ‘passive’ role of providers;

26. Believes that infrastructure service providers, payment providers, and other companies offering services to digital service providers, should not be held liable for the content a user uploads or downloads on their own initiative; believes that digital service providers, who have a direct relationship with a user and who have the ability to remove distinct pieces of the user content, should only be held liable if they fail to expeditiously respond to sufficiently substantiated removal orders by independent competent public authorities, or where they have actual knowledge of illegal content or activities.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

16.7.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

40

4

23

Members present for the final vote

Magdalena Adamowicz, Konstantinos Arvanitis, Katarina Barley, Pietro Bartolo, Nicolas Bay, Vladimír Bilčík, Vasile Blaga, Ioan-Rareş Bogdan, Saskia Bricmont, Joachim Stanisław Brudziński, Jorge Buxadé Villalba, Damien Carême, Caterina Chinnici, Clare Daly, Marcel de Graaff, Lena Düpont, Laura Ferrara, Nicolaus Fest, Jean-Paul Garraud, Sylvie Guillaume, Andrzej Halicki, Balázs Hidvéghi, Evin Incir, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Patryk Jaki, Lívia Járóka, Fabienne Keller, Peter Kofod, Moritz Körner, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Nuno Melo, Roberta Metsola, Nadine Morano, Javier Moreno Sánchez, Maite Pagazaurtundúa, Nicola Procaccini, Emil Radev, Paulo Rangel, Terry Reintke, Diana Riba i Giner, Ralf Seekatz, Michal Šimečka, Martin Sonneborn, Sylwia Spurek, Tineke Strik, Ramona Strugariu, Annalisa Tardino, Tomas Tobé, Milan Uhrík, Tom Vandendriessche, Bettina Vollath, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Elena Yoncheva, Javier Zarzalejos

Substitutes present for the final vote

Abir Al-Sahlani, Bartosz Arłukowicz, Malin Björk, Delara Burkhardt, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Nathalie Loiseau, Erik Marquardt, Sira Rego, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Paul Tang, Hilde Vautmans, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Sven Mikser

 


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

40

+

PPE

Bartosz Arłukowicz

S&D

Katarina Barley, Pietro Bartolo, Delara Burkhardt, Caterina Chinnici, Sylvie Guillaume, Evin Incir, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Sven Mikser, Javier Moreno Sánchez, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Sylwia Spurek, Paul Tang, Bettina Vollath, Elena Yoncheva

Renew

Abir Al‑Sahlani, Sophia in 't Veld, Moritz Körner, Maite Pagazaurtundúa, Michal Šimečka, Ramona Strugariu, Hilde Vautmans

ID

Nicolaus Fest, Peter Kofod, Annalisa Tardino, Tom Vandendriessche

Verts/ALE

Saskia Bricmont, Damien Carême, Gwendoline Delbos‑Corfield, Erik Marquardt, Terry Reintke, Diana Riba i Giner, Tineke Strik

GUE/NGL

Konstantinos Arvanitis, Malin Björk, Clare Daly, Sira Rego

NI

Laura Ferrara, Martin Sonneborn, Milan Uhrík

 

4

-

PPE

Javier Zarzalejos

ID

Nicolas Bay, Jean‑Paul Garraud, Marcel de Graaff

 

23

0

PPE

Magdalena Adamowicz, Vladimír Bilčík, Vasile Blaga, Ioan‑Rareş Bogdan, Lena Düpont, Andrzej Halicki, Balázs Hidvéghi, Lívia Járóka, Nuno Melo, Roberta Metsola, Nadine Morano, Emil Radev, Paulo Rangel, Ralf Seekatz, Tomas Tobé, Tomáš Zdechovský

Renew

Fabienne Keller, Nathalie Loiseau

ECR

Joachim Stanisław Brudziński, Jorge Buxadé Villalba, Patryk Jaki, Nicola Procaccini, Jadwiga Wiśniewska

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 


 

 

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

28.9.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

1

5

Members present for the final vote

Alex Agius Saliba, Andrus Ansip, Pablo Arias Echeverría, Alessandra Basso, Brando Benifei, Adam Bielan, Hynek Blaško, Biljana Borzan, Vlad-Marius Botoş, Markus Buchheit, Dita Charanzová, Deirdre Clune, David Cormand, Carlo Fidanza, Evelyne Gebhardt, Alexandra Geese, Sandro Gozi, Maria Grapini, Svenja Hahn, Virginie Joron, Eugen Jurzyca, Arba Kokalari, Marcel Kolaja, Kateřina Konečná, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques, Morten Løkkegaard, Adriana Maldonado López, Antonius Manders, Beata Mazurek, Leszek Miller, Dan-Ştefan Motreanu, Kris Peeters, Anne-Sophie Pelletier, Miroslav Radačovský, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Tomislav Sokol, Ivan Štefanec, Kim Van Sparrentak, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Anna Cavazzini, Edina Tóth

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

39

+

EPP

S&D

RENEW

GREENS/EFA

ECR

EUL/NGL

NI

Pablo Arias Echeverría, Anna‑Michelle Asimakopoulou, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Deirdre Clune, Arba Kokalari, Antonius Manders, Dan‑Ştefan Motreanu, Kris Peeters, Andreas Schwab, Tomislav Sokol, Ivan Štefanec, Edina Tóth

Alex Agius Saliba, Brando Benifei, Biljana Borzan, Evelyne Gebhardt, Maria Grapini, Maria‑Manuel Leitão‑Marques, Adriana Maldonado López, Leszek Miller, Christel Schaldemose

Andrus Ansip, Vlad‑Marius Botoş, Dita Charanzová, Sandro Gozi, Svenja Hahn, Morten Løkkegaard

Anna Cavazzini, David Cormand, Alexandra Geese, Marcel Kolaja, Kim Van Sparrentak

Adam Bielan, Carlo Fidanza, Eugen Jurzyca, Beata Mazurek

Kateřina Konečná

Miroslav Radačovský, Marco Zullo

 

1

-

ID

Hynek Blaško

 

5

0

ID

EUL/NGL

Alessandra Basso, Markus Buchheit, Virginie Joron, Jean‑Lin Lacapelle

Anne‑Sophie Pelletier

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1]. OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1.

[2]. OJ L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 57.

[3]  OJ L 136, 22.5.2019, p. 1.

[4]. OJ L 136, 22.5.2019, p. 28.

[5]. OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22.

[6]  OJ L 169, 25.6.2019, p. 1.

[7]. OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.

[8]  OJ C 50 E, 21.2.2012, p. 1.

[9]. OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 135.

[10]. OJ L 63, 6.3.2018, p. 50.

[11] OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.

[12]. OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, p. 92.

[13]. OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.

[14]  OJ L 77, 27.3.1996, p. 20.

[15] OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, p. 10..

[16]  OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.

[17] Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, p.4).

[18] Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products (OJ L 210, 7.8.1985, p.29).

[19] Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Directive on consumer ADR) (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, p. 63).

[20] Rules provided for in Directive (EU) 2019/770 and Directive (EU) 2019/771.

[21]. Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts, most recently amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (OJ L 328, 18.12.2019, p. 7).

[22]  Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 64).

[23]  Directive (EU) 2018/958 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 June 2018 on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions (OJ L 173, 9.7.2018, p. 25).

[24] Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1–88)

[25] Directive 2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the framework for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in the field of road transport and for interfaces with other modes of transport Text with EEA relevance (OJ L 207, 6.8.2010, p. 1–13)

[26] Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (OJ L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 57).

[27] Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (OJ L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 105–121).

[28] Council Recommendation of 8 November 2019 on access to social protection for workers and the self -employed 2019/C 387/01 (OJ C 387, 15.11.2019, p. 1–8).

[29] Fair working conditions, rights and social protection for platform workers - New forms of employment linked to digital development (2019/2186(INI))

[30] Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ('Directive on electronic commerce') (OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1).

[31] Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) in view of changing market realities (OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 69).

[32] Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA (OJ L 119 4.5.2016, p. 89).

[33] Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).

[34] Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC (OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, p. 92).

[35] Judgment of the Court of Justice of 3 October 2019, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Limited, Case C-18/18; ECLI:EU:C:2019:821.

Last updated: 8 October 2020Legal notice - Privacy policy