After a debate lasting almost two hours, the European Parliament voted on Tuesday 20 October with an overwhelming majority of 83% in favour of the Report on the Digital Services Act of the Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba.
The report of the Maltese MEP enshrines the principle that “what is illegal offline is also illegal online” and calls for future-proof rules on digital services, including online platforms and marketplaces, and for a binding mechanism to tackle illegal content online.
No more free passes for online platforms. The EU must set global standards regulating platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, Agius Saliba said. “If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product. Digital services must be built on trust, choice, and a high level of protection, fully integrating users’, consumers’, and SMEs’ concerns.”
“The digital transformation has profoundly changed the functioning of the global economy and society, and those changes require an update to improve the situation in several areas. The current EU rules have remained largely unchanged since the e-commerce directive was adopted twenty years ago, and the Digital Services is going to be this first update to the existing legal framework,” Agius Saliba said.
Specific rules for big platforms, scope covering foreign service providers, high consumer protection against illegal, counterfeit, unsafe products and stricter conditions for targeted ads, and more control for users over what they see online are key messages in the report of the Maltese MEP.
“With this report, we aim to shape the digital economy and set standards for the rest of the world. Online platforms have become the new utilities of our time. They should not be deciding what we can say and read online. Their permanent surveillance, tracking and policing of the internet and our lives must stop. It is time to take control and safeguard public interests, fundamental rights, and protect users and consumers,” Agius Saliba said.