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Onsdagen den 19 januari 2022 - Strasbourg Reviderad upplaga

14. Rättsakten om digitala tjänster (debatt)
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  Presidente. – Segue-se o debate sobre o Relatório da Deputada Christel Schaldemose, em nome da Comissão do Mercado Interno e da Proteção dos Consumidores, sobre a proposta de regulamento do Parlamento Europeu e do Conselho relativo a um mercado único de serviços digitais (Regulamento Serviços Digitais) e que altera a Diretiva 2000/31/CE (COM(2020)0825 - C9-0418/2020 - 2020/0361(COD)) (A9-0356/2021).

Recordo que não haverá o procedimento «catch-the-eye» nem perguntas sob a forma de cartão azul, como ao longo de toda a sessão, e que estão previstas intervenções à distância a partir dos nossos gabinetes de ligação nos Estados-Membros. As intervenções neste debate serão, como é habitual, feitas a partir da tribuna central.

Gostaria de cumprimentar a Senhora Comissária.

 
  
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  Christel Schaldemose, Ordfører. – Hr. formand! Nu tager vi kontrollen tilbage fra techgiganterne og bringer vores digitale EU-lovgivning ind i det 21. århundrede. Vi bygger oven på e-handelsdirektivet, som vi vedtog i år 2000. Dengang så verden meget anderledes ud. Facebook fandtes ikke, Mark Zuckerberg havde end ikke fået ideen, og Steve Jobs og Apple havde endnu ikke lanceret iPod'en, for slet ikke at tale om at have tænkt på iPhone. Amazon var stadigvæk en underskudsforretning, og EU's samhandel med Kina var markant mindre end i dag. Det er altså på tide, at vi foretager en grundlæggende opdatering af vores digitale lovgivning.

DSA'en kan blive den nye guldstandard for techområdet, ikke bare i Europa, men i hele verden. Store technationer som USA og Kina følger nøje med i, hvad vi nu bliver enige om. Præcis som de gjorde, da vi lavede GDPR. Med DSA'en tager vi et grundlæggende opgør med Det Vilde Vesten, som det digitale har udviklet sig til. I alt for lang tid, har ulovlige produkter og indhold spredt sig online. Algoritmerne har fremmet splittelse, og anbefalelsessystemerne har ødelagt unges selvværd. Det digitale har på én og samme gang gjort afstanden mellem os kortere, men gravet grøfterne dybere. Du kan skrive til mennesker fra hele verden, men at dømme på debatten på de sociale medier er det alt for nemt at glemme, at det netop er et menneske, du skriver med. Du kan købe produkter fra alle hjørner af verden, men du kan ikke længere være sikker på, at det produkt, du køber, rent faktisk lever op til de regler, vi har i Europa. Og lige så nemt det er at klikke varen ned i den virtuelle kurv, lige så svært kan det være at få fat i sælgeren, hvis du oplever problemer. Derfor er der brug for en ny stærk lovgivning. En lovgivning, der sikrer, at det, der er ulovligt offline, i fremtiden også skal være ulovligt online. Den lovgivning stemmer vi nu om i dag i Europa-Parlamentet.

DSA'en indeholder utroligt mange vigtige tiltrængte positive tiltag. Jeg vil her gerne fremhæve, at vi forbedrer forbrugersikkerheden, at vi sætter en stopklods for den uendelige datahøst, og at vi åbner algoritmernes sorte boks. Helt konkret forbedrer vi forbrugersikkerheden på tre områder: For det første foreslår vi, at forbrugere og borgere skal kunne henvende sig til formidlingstjenesten gennem ét kontaktpunkt. Det vil give brugere af sociale medier bedre muligheder for at komme i kontakt med tjenesterne, hvis deres indhold for eksempel bliver fjernet ulovligt, eller hvis deres konto bliver blokeret. Samtidig vil det også give forbrugere, der uvidende har købt et ulovligt eller farligt produkt online, mulighed for at komme i kontakt direkte med onlinemarkedspladsen og ikke kun med en eller anden chatfunktion. For det andet kræver vi, at onlinemarkedspladserne gør mere for at beskytte forbrugerne mod ulovlige produkter. De skal hurtigt og effektivt fjerne de ulovlige produkter og kontakte de brugere, som har nået at købe disse ulovlige produkter, inden de blev taget ned. Og for det tredje introducerer vi en ret til at søge kompensation direkte hos platformene for både forbrugere og virksomheder, hvis det er, at platformene ikke lever op til de bestemmelser, vi sætter i DSA'en. Det er en markant forbedring for både de forbrugere og de virksomheder, som lever af platformene og bruger platformene.

Vi bremser også platformenes brug af vores data med en række nye regler. Nu skal det være slut med målrettede reklamer til mindreårige. Mindreåriges data skal ikke kunne høstes og bruges til kommercielle formål. Det sætter vi her i Parlamentet en stopper for. Samtidig skal det være nemmere at trække sit samtykke tilbage, hvis man har givet det til målrettede reklamer. Det skal altså ikke være sværere at sige nej tak, end det er at sige ja tak til dem. Og endelig vil vi gerne forbyde "dark patterns". Det skal være slut med at designe en dialogboks, så borgernes valg bliver bestemt og påvirket i en bestemt retning. Alt sammen er med til give os brugere mere kontrol over vores egne data.

Så åbner vi også algoritmernes sorte boks og lader både Kommissionen og Koordinatoren af Digitale Tjenester kigge med i rapporterne om algoritmernes konsekvenser. Fremover skal de sociale medier lave en vurdering af, hvad det betyder med de ændringer i deres algoritmer, som de laver. Fremmer en algoritme for eksempel spiseforstyrrelser og selvskade? Hvis den gør, skal platformen sætte sig ind i det og rette op på problemet. De største platforme kan altså ikke længere gemme sig bag et slør af uvidenhed. Nu bliver de tvunget til at se konsekvenserne af deres algoritmer i øjnene. Det er rigtig vigtigt. Vi tager altså kontrollen tilbage fra techgiganterne. Med Europa-Parlamentets forslag til en ny guldstandard for techområdet sender vi et meget, meget stærkt signal til Rådet. Vi insisterer på en lovgivning med to hovedformål: Vi skal beskytte brugere og forbrugere, og vi skal sørge for, at den digitale økonomi kan vokse inden for rammerne af en demokratisk, gennemsigtig og pålidelig ramme.

Jeg er utrolig stolt over, hvad vi har opnået med denne aftale i Europa-Parlamentet. Derfor er der også mange der fortjener en stor tak. Først jeg gerne sige en stor tak til skyggeordførerne for det samarbejde, vi har haft i IMCO, også til de associerede udvalg og til koordinatorkollegaerne. Også tak til alle kollegaerne i min egen gruppe og andre kollegaer her i Parlamentet, som har bidraget til forslag og til diskussioner, fordi det er så vigtigt et område. Det er godt, I har været med. Så vil jeg også meget gerne have lov at sige en stor tak til medarbejderne i IMCO-sekretariatet og i S&D-Gruppen. Uden deres arbejde ville vi ikke være nået hertil. Og så også en stor tak til de to kommissærer, fru Vestager og hr. Breton, for et utroligt godt samarbejde. Endelig vil jeg også gerne sige tak til formandskabet, både til portugisiske, det slovenske og foreløbig også det franske. Vi har haft et foreløbigt godt samarbejde, og jeg er sikker på, at det bliver rigtig godt, når vi lige om lidt går i gang med trilogforhandlingerne. Jeg håber på, at vi kan gøre det forholdsvis hurtigt. De europæiske borgere fortjener, at vi hurtigt afslutter denne lovgivning, så vi kan få et mere sikkert og trygt internet. Det har vi alle sammen brug for. Tak!

 
  
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  Henna Virkkunen, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. – Mr President, as the rapporteur for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), I would like to thank all the colleagues from other committees, rapporteurs and shadows, for their good cooperation on this dossier. In the ITRE report, my focus as the rapporteur has been on ICT industry innovations and small and micro-enterprises. It is important for European businesses, especially for our SMEs, that we ensure a level playing field and fair competition and make sure that European values and legislation are respected in the online world.

What is illegal offline should be also illegal online. This also means that businesses from third countries should follow European rules when operating in our digital markets. Our SMEs and start—ups play a crucial role in creating Europe’s digital competitiveness and growth. When regulating the digital market, we should make sure that we are not setting obstacles for growth.

We should encourage companies to scale up, innovate and invest in Europe. In particular, we must ensure that the smallest enterprises are not faced with excessively heavy administrative burdens. Flexibility and legal certainty are necessary in order for SMEs to operate and grow. Therefore, in the ITRE text, we also introduced various exemptions for small and micro—enterprises.

 
  
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  Geoffroy Didier, rapporteur pour avis de la commission des affaires juridiques. – Monsieur le Président, les grandes plateformes numériques sont de puissants outils d’innovation qui ont inondé nos vies quotidiennes. Acteurs économiques, ils sont aussi devenus des acteurs publics. Vecteurs de la liberté d’expression, ils n’en sont pas moins des véhicules de messages de haine, de menaces, de harcèlement ou de commerce illégal dont nous avons le devoir impérieux d’empêcher la diffusion.

Face au vide juridique dont les GAFAM ont profité jusqu’ici, il était temps que l’Europe mette un terme à l’anarchie du Web. Le texte voté cette semaine au Parlement européen n’est malheureusement qu’une trop timide avancée, loin des grands discours et des belles intentions prononcées il y a quelques instants encore par Emmanuel Macron.

Le combat ne fait que continuer et je me battrai pour garantir aux jeunes, aux personnes vulnérables, aux consommateurs comme aux entreprises, un environnement sain sur Internet et sur les réseaux sociaux. Rien, je dis bien rien, ne justifie que nous laissions nos smartphones devenir nos meilleurs ennemis.

 
  
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  Patrick Breyer, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. – Mr President, the Digital Services Act is a unique opportunity for us to take back control of the digital age and put citizens and our democratic institutions in charge. My committee, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, is proposing amendments to make the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO Committee) even stronger.

For instance, the report protects secure encryption, but we also need to prevent data leaks that expose the data of millions of citizens to cybercriminals every year, by giving users a right to use digital services anonymously wherever possible. The IMCO report rules out legal obligations to use error—prone upload filters. But we also need to prevent tech platforms from imposing conditions that disregard our fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and media freedom online.

So, dear colleagues, let us jointly make every effort to shape our digital future in line with our fundamental rights and values.

 
  
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  Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, if you only knew how I’ve been looking forward to this day. When I was preparing the hearing in this Parliament for my second mandate, we discussed what our ambitions should be for the Digital Services Act. And here we are, two years later, because of hard, dedicated, coordinated work in this House.

I would very much like to thank the rapporteur, Christel Schaldemose, for her work and, of course, also the rapporteurs of the associated committees, and the encouragement that it has been for us in the Commission to see the interest for so many committees and so many Members of this House to make sure that technology serves citizens in our Union.

Shadow rapporteurs, members of your committees, have worked dedicated on this important file and we have come a long way in these 12 months from the tabling of the proposal to the debate that we have today. We also have the general approach unanimously adopted in the Council. With today’s debate and the vote that is getting started, I think we are sending a very clear signal to citizens: our democracy has the strength to deal with this; our democracy has the strength to set the rules so that citizens are in charge. It is a unique position that the Union has a very strong rulebook that will be enforced fast.

This, of course, means further removing barriers to the digital single market, empowering people to make real choices and giving more responsibility to those who provide us digital services. And the guiding principles have already been stated and they remain fundamental: making the internet safer for everyone who’s there, protecting each and every one of us from illegal content, including, of course, unsafe or unauthorised products, while securing the freedom of expression online.

This means that it’s not just a slogan to say what is illegal offline should also be illegal online; what is legal offline should also be legal online. It is not just a slogan. With this work that you have done, you have put muscle to the bone. You are making it real.

Of course, making it real comes with enforcement, and that, of course, comes from the clarity of the regulation, that it can be enforced in a well—resourced, strong system. That requires cooperation in Europe, and I think that you as a legislator should expect this, that once we are done with this legislation it will be enforced strongly and fast to the benefit of every citizen and in respect of the legislator.

 
  
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  Thierry Breton, membre de la Commission. – Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs les membres du Parlement, je voudrais vous dire à quel point je me réjouis d’être ici devant vous aujourd’hui, devant vous toutes et vous tous, pour débattre d’une proposition qui me tient vraiment à cœur, comme à nous tous je crois, et qui, vous le savez, m’a occupé dès le premier jour de ma prise de fonction de commissaire européen: évidemment, ce fameux Digital Services Act.

Tenir ce débat en plénière, un an quasiment jour pour jour à peine après notre proposition de 2020, révèle bien le travail absolument extraordinaire, je tiens à le dire ici, que chacune et chacun d’entre vous a fourni. Pour cela, je voudrais d’abord vous adresser ma profonde gratitude et avant toute chose à Mme Christel Schaldemose, qui a fait un travail absolument exceptionnel pour qu’on soit là aujourd’hui, tous ensemble, à tenir ce débat.

Avec cette plénière, aujourd’hui, et le vote qui va suivre, on franchit en effet une étape, je crois qu’on peut le dire, historique et qui va, nous l’espérons tous, mettre fin à ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler un peu un Far West qui dominait notre espace informationnel.

Il y a tout juste un an, chacun se souvient ici, nous étions frappés par les images de manifestants prenant d’assaut le Congrès américain de Capitol Hill, marquant, je crois, un avant et un après dans le rôle des plateformes numériques sur notre démocratie, sur nos démocraties. Ce que nous avons vécu était sans doute le point culminant d’années de discours de haine non contrôlée, d’incitation à la violence, de stratégies de désinformation, de déstabilisation, répandus sans retenue sur les réseaux sociaux et dont ces réseaux ont, il faut bien en convenir, largement tiré profit. Il est devenu évident, pour tous, que l’absence de règles et de contrôles, et notamment de contrôle démocratique, sur les décisions d’une poignée de grandes plateformes aujourd’hui devenues des espaces publics systémiques, n’était plus tolérable.

Quelques semaines avant ces incidents, la Commission venait de présenter le DSA et le DMA qui, en réponse aux attentes fortes de nos concitoyens, proposaient une réorganisation complète de notre espace informationnel. Car nos concitoyens attendent un message fort de la part de l’Europe, adressé aux grandes plateformes qui exercent sur nos vies et sur nos démocraties une influence grandissante.

Nous avons aussi eu l’opportunité d’entendre, par exemple, le témoignage de Mme Frances Haugen, la lanceuse d’alerte du géant numérique, que j’ai eu l’occasion de rencontrer personnellement avec la rapporteure du DSA, avec Christel, et ceci a été mis en lumière lors de ces entretiens qui confirment qu’il y a non seulement une urgence à légiférer, mais aussi un impératif, et je le redis ici, devant vous toutes et vous tous, à ne pas baisser nos ambitions.

Avec le DSA, nous avons créé un système innovant que je voudrais résumer en quatre points principaux. D’abord, nous proposons des règles claires, enfin, pour la suppression de tout ce qui est illicite en ligne, que ce soit les produits, des services ou du contenu, avec un principe simple, qui a été rappelé: tout ce qui est interdit offline doit être interdit online.

On impose aussi de nouvelles obligations pour les très grandes plateformes, fondées sur les risques afin d’empêcher les abus, comme cela a été fait avec les règles prudentielles pour les banques. D’ailleurs, pour ces plateformes systémiques, la Commission aura des pouvoirs de surveillance et de sanction très significatives: amendes allant jusqu’à 6 % du chiffre d’affaires annuel, voire pouvant aller jusqu’à l’exclusion temporaire du marché intérieur en cas d’infraction grave et répétée.

Nous ouvrons aussi, et c’est le troisième point, la boîte noire des algorithmes, en imposant aux plateformes des mesures de transparence pour enfin comprendre les raisons pour lesquelles tel ou tel citoyen – on en a tous été l’objet, souvent la victime – est visé par certains contenus ou certaines publicités.

Enfin, nous nous assurons que toutes ces règles soient appliquées de façon uniforme partout en Europe, dans toute l’Union européenne. Et bien entendu, ces règles s’appliqueront à tous les acteurs, qu’ils soient européens ou pas.

En un peu plus d’un an, nous avons fait des progrès remarquables avec le Parlement européen et le Conseil. Je suis convaincu que nous serons en mesure d’adopter ensemble ces propositions sous la présidence française – cela a été rappelé par le président de la République française il y a quelques instants dans cet hémicycle – d’ici la fin du mois de juin.

Le travail de la commission du marché intérieur du Parlement européen montre que nous partageons le même niveau d’ambition et le même sens de l’urgence. Ensemble, évidemment, nous resterons extrêmement vigilants et je salue le fait que, dans cette institution également, des efforts accrus de lobbying auxquels nous avons assisté sont demeurés vains. Nous ne laisserons pas les intérêts des entreprises interférer avec l’intérêt général des citoyens européens.

L’Europe est le premier continent au monde à engager une réforme globale de notre espace numérique. Avec le DSA et le DMA, nous sommes sur le point de réorganiser notre espace numérique dans notre grand marché intérieur, à la fois pour les aspects sociétaux, mais aussi pour les aspects économiques. Un nouveau cadre qui peut devenir peut-être, sans doute, une référence pour les démocraties du monde entier. Le débat d’aujourd’hui est donc extrêmement important pour nous tous, en Europe et au-delà, et nous allons donc l’écouter extrêmement attentivement.

 
  
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  Mikuláš Peksa, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. – Mr President, we stand at the height of what could have been one of the greatest European achievements. After intense work, we have managed to create a set of rules that gives us the interoperability, a more open digital market, better choices for users and less power for the tech giants. I’m also proud of the critical changes regarding transparency, as platforms are now obliged to provide explanations and clearer labels or changes in their terms and use, and their display.

Parliament, and I am happy to hear this as a member of Pirate Party, has learned from the protests against the Copyright Directive, ruling out new filtering and monitoring obligations on our content and personal communication. However, instead of banning upload filters, we only got vague promises. The text could also have further limited the collection of personal data in ads, which fuels the ugly economy of surveillance capitalism.

But the main problem from my point of view are the cross—border removal orders, which could lead to the deletion of fully legal content in one country just based on a decision taken in another one. This is particularly dangerous in the current rule-of-law crisis, where some of the Member States are backsliding towards authoritarianism. Giving the tools to diminish freedom of expression is unacceptable, and it will definitely not help us to create a smoother Digital Single Market.

We need the Digital Services Act, but not at all costs, and especially not at the cost of giving dictators better whips. So I’m looking forward to further discussion on this issue between the Member States and a Parliament. Thank you very much, and looking forward to further comments on this issue.

 
  
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  Roman Haider, Verfasser der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Ausschusses für Verkehr und Tourismus. – Herr Präsident! Gerade die Coronakrise hat ja den tiefgreifenden wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Wandel durch die Digitalisierung deutlich vor Augen geführt. Deswegen ist auch ein klarer rechtlicher Rahmen für die Erbringung von Online-Diensten durchaus sinnvoll, damit sowohl Unternehmer als auch Verbraucher Rechtssicherheit haben.

In einigen Punkten, wie etwa beim Problem der illegalen Kurzzeitvermietungen, hätte ich mir sogar strengere Regeln vorstellen können. Andererseits sind die neuen Regeln für den Bereich der Meinungsfreiheit im Internet und den Meinungsaustausch der Bürger auf Online-Plattformen viel zu streng und übertrieben.

Über die Hintertür wird hier versucht, Zensur auszuüben. Und das zeigt sich besonders deutlich an den völlig vagen Begriffen „Hassrede“ und „Desinformation“. De facto geht es hier um die Unterdrückung unliebsamer Meinungen und Inhalte. Die Grenze kann und darf allein das Strafrecht sein. Alles andere – und ich sage es noch einmal – alles andere ist Zensur.

Und besonders perfide ist der Versuch, diese Zensurmaßnahme auch noch an die Betreiber der Plattformen auszulagern. Damit wird eine privatisierte Rechtsprechung durch digitale Großkonzerne forciert. Das ist ein massiver Eingriff in die Meinungs- und Informationsfreiheit der Bürger.

Um es auf den Punkt zu bringen: Was offline legal ist, muss auch online legal sein. Allein das Strafrecht darf hier die Grenze sein. Diese neuen Zensurregeln sind mit den Grundwerten einer freien und demokratischen Gesellschaft nicht vereinbar.

 
  
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  Sabine Verheyen, Verfasserin der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Ausschusses für Kultur und Bildung. – Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident, verehrte Kolleginnen und Kollegen, verehrte Vertreter der Kommission! Mit dem DSA haben wir die Chance, einen Meilenstein in der Regulierung von Online-Diensten auf Unionsebene zu schaffen. Diese Chance wird im vorliegenden Entwurf in vielen Punkten genutzt, aber an einigen wesentlichen Stellen auch vertan.

Leider wurde die Stellungnahme des CULT-Ausschusses nicht adäquat im Berichtsentwurf berücksichtigt. Der DSA, wie er jetzt ist, wird schwerwiegende negative Folgen für Bereiche des Kultur-, Sport- und Mediensektors haben. Wir überlassen es den großen Plattformen unserer europäischen Medien, nach ihren Bedingungen, gegebenenfalls Hausregeln, zu regulieren.

Die Anbieter von Mediendiensten sind sowohl auf Unionsebene als auch auf nationaler Ebene bereits streng reguliert und müssen sich an professionelle redaktionelle Standards halten, unabhängig davon, wie ihre Inhalte und Dienste konsumiert werden. Es ist wichtig, die redaktionelle Unabhängigkeit im Mediensektor zu schützen.

Für Fälle von Desinformation haben wir auf europäischer Ebene bereits Mediengesetzgebung verabschiedet; die sollte jedoch endlich in allen Mitgliedstaaten auch adäquat umgesetzt werden. Und das wäre eine Aufgabe, der sich die Kommission auch widmen müsste, damit sie auch wirklich funktioniert.

Medieninhalte, die offline rechtens sind, müssen auch online rechtens sein, genauso wie illegale Medieninhalte online auch offline illegal sein sollen. Den Online-Medien Angebote zu machen, kann man eben nicht mit Sockenkaufen vergleichen.

Unterstützen Sie daher die Änderungsanträge der Kollegen aus dem CULT-Ausschuss und dem JURI-Ausschuss! Nutzen wir die Chance!

 
  
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  Jadwiga Wiśniewska, autorka projektu opinii Komisji Praw Kobiet i Równouprawnienia. – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Szanowni Państwo! Na wstępie chciałabym podziękować kontrsprawozdawcom. Dzięki dobrej współpracy z grupami politycznymi stworzyliśmy projekt opinii, który poprawia sytuację kobiet poprzez zobowiązania dla dostawców usług internetowych do przeciwdziałania dyskryminacji, zwalczania przemocy i reagowania na sygnały użytkowników.

Zwróciliśmy również uwagę na szczególną sytuację dzieci, które w internecie są często ofiarami nadużyć. Zobowiązaliśmy dostawców usług internetowych do tworzenia kodeksów postępowań oraz podejmowania działań zaradczych. Część naszych postulatów znalazła się w ostatecznej wersji sprawozdania komisji IMCO. Przed nami długa droga, ale zrobiliśmy postęp w kierunku ochrony dzieci przed niewłaściwymi treściami, a kobiet przed cyberprzemocą.

 
  
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  Arba Kokalari, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, today the European Parliament will send a strong signal that we want a digital market and an internet with clear rules for businesses and safety for users.

The internet has made our lives so much better. We can all stay in touch with friends and family, access information, shop online and participate in the public debate, and it will continue to revolutionise the world and humanity in ways we cannot even imagine right now.

However, our citizens must also feel safe online. Today, we are exposed to illegal content on websites with fraud, disinformation, foreign interference and dangerous products. I’m glad that we – as European lawmakers – have listened to these concerns, and I’m proud that we have been able to unite behind a strong proposal in the Digital Services Act – the DSA.

For me, as the negotiator for the largest political force in this House, three things are most important. Firstly, that we are now creating a framework to remove illegal content more quickly. This will put an end to the digital Wild West, where the biggest platforms are setting the rules and criminal content is going viral.

Secondly, we want to ensure that the internet remains an open space. The DSA will strengthen the rights for users, increase transparency online and protect freedom of speech. Platforms will no longer censor opinions or block accounts without any explanation, and users will be able to contest these decisions taken by the platforms.

Thirdly, we need a unified digital market where entrepreneurs and start-ups can easily compete, without trade barriers or massive bureaucracy. With the DSA, tech companies in the EU will follow one set of rules, not 27 sets of rules.

Right now, we are letting the US and China run the show in several areas, and it’s time for Europe to take the lead in the global digital race. So let’s make the DSA a worldwide example for a better digital future with safety, openness and innovation.

 
  
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  Alex Agius Saliba, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, when digital platforms emerged a decade ago, the societal challenges arising from harnessing new technologies and services seemed straightforward, and the possibilities were endless. Today, our situation is totally different.

Those same platforms have become so big, so significant, so indispensable even for our economy, for our society, for our democracies, that they have started controlling the internet, controlling our people, controlling politics, by simply having the key and access to the online content that we read, to the online content that we watch and also that we share.

For the moment, the digital world is like the Wild West, without any rules, without any limits or safeguards, leaving people defenceless, exposed, and exploited for their vulnerabilities. And in the middle of all this are private companies weaponising key digital technologies for their own private gains, for their own profits.

Times have changed, and we can do better than this. People are demanding that we step up on their behalf and create a safe and healthier digital ecosystem. The Digital Services Act is the right tool to answer those calls and set a gold standard in the regulation of big tech.

I want to congratulate the rapporteur for her hard work. The report is preserving the general principles that are so important for us, the country of origin, no general monitoring and stay-down obligation. It is also providing better choices for our consumers and transparency measures by banning dark patterns, introducing algorithm accountability and also providing greater transparency for recommender systems.

Finally, yet importantly, it includes stronger protection and compensation mechanisms for consumers and people with disabilities – and our political family, the S&D Group, kept in mind as a primary concern the protection of our consumers. And this is highlighted throughout the whole report.

The DSA should empower people to take back control of the internet, on the kind of online content they wish to read, that they wish to watch, that they wish to share. The time has come to be ambitious and address everything from user safety to consumer protection, targeted advertisement, surveillance of users, transparency, accountability, and end the tech giants’ ability to gain the digital economy for their dividends.

If we don’t act now, we will miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

 
  
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  Dita Charanzová, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, the internet is a mirror; a mirror of the best and worst of our society. It mirrors the realities of our offline world. If the real offline world cannot be perfect, neither can the internet. But this does not mean that we should not try to make it a better and safer place, a place which respects freedom of speech while supporting our European businesses. This must be the goal of the Digital Services Act.

This is about creating a better system that will help us fight illegal content while giving citizens the right to challenge removals. It is about requiring the big giants to take a transparent look at themselves and to address the risks that are inherent within their systems. It is about making all providers, including marketplaces, understand that they have a social responsibility, and they must be honest and true in how they act towards us, their users. It is about protecting our children so they can avoid the worst of the internet.

At the same time, we create a system that will support the growth of e—commerce and digital innovation in Europe without unneeded over-regulation. We need start—ups, we need scale—ups in Europe, and a system that works for them.

Today, we create a law and a justice system for the internet, a system that can work for the whole diverse internet. However, this law is just the first step. Not the last one. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.

 
  
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  Alexandra Geese, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, the internet used to be a wonderful place: a place for sharing knowledge, discovering the world, meeting new people; a marketplace and a public square where everybody with a connection could take part in the conversation. What a marvellous invention.

Today, we’re looking at the shambles of that marvellous world: the Rohingya genocide promoted on Facebook, teenage girls driven to anorexia by Instagram. The storm on Capitol Hill was the wake-up call. How will our democracy survive with social media spreading hate and lies?

Tomorrow we will be taking a very important step toward saving our democracy and free internet, because censorship can never be the solution in a free country. Neither governments nor platforms have the right to censor legal speech. And I would like to say to my colleague from the free right: this is exactly what the Digital Services Act is not doing. What the European Union is achieving with the DSA is to hold platforms accountable for what they do and not for what their users think.

So what do the platforms do? They collect data – their users’ data or the citizens’ data, because you don’t even need to have a Google or Facebook account to be spied on. And then platforms use that data to build very comprehensive profiles of every one of us, which they use for two things: sell us ads and keep us on the platforms as long as possible, recommending us content that will make us interact as long as possible, to which we are vulnerable.

Unfortunately, psychological research shows that what makes us interact and stay on platforms are two emotions: anger and fear. And this is why content that arouses anger and fear goes viral in the internet: it increases platforms’ profits. That’s why the recommender systems disseminate hateful speech and disinformation at far higher speed than anything else. And it is not true that the internet is a perfect mirror of the real world. It’s a completely distorted mirror, and the content is being distorted to increase platforms’ profits.

So how does the DSA increase these challenges? It starts with very basic things. Orders by national authorities need to be respected. Users have clear rights. Complaint mechanisms, independent dispute settlement will be in place.

What do we do to protect citizens? We take a few steps, but we don’t go far enough. We will ban surveillance advertising for our children, for minors, but not for adults. We should have and could have done more.

This week, Silicon Valley representative Anna Eshoo and others introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to ban surveillance advertising. This is what we should have done. What we did do, and I’m very proud of this: we opened the black box that very large online platforms today represent, with risk assessments where platforms have to look into the risk their business model and their algorithms themselves present for human dignity, for example, with independent audits and with, above all, access to the data for independent research, for independent and NGOs to study and assess compliance.

This way we will finally be able to shed light on the platforms’ practices, collect evidence and tell the stories of how targeting and engagement-based ranking tampers with democracies, and we will be able to build a better and freer internet.

The DSA is a first step, but it is the fundamental law for the digital world, and I am extremely proud that Europe is the first democratic continent to take this important step. It will shine. Its light will shine.

 
  
 

(The debate was suspended)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA: ROBERTA METSOLA
President

 
Senaste uppdatering: 13 maj 2022Rättsligt meddelande - Integritetspolicy