Tech Giants Face Significant Impact as EU Implements Digital Services Act Friday
The European Union (EU) is taking a tough stance on tech giants, with the implementation of its new Digital Services Act (DSA). Starting this Friday, many of the world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Apple, and META, are facing unprecedented legal scrutiny.
The regulations address three core areas: content moderation, user privacy and transparency. These rules are having a significant impact on the tech industry and are likely to be widely adopted around the world if the EU’s attempt proves to be successful.
Kingsley Hayes, a lawyer from Keller Postman, a leading law firm, notes that “we can expect that platforms will fight tooth and nail to defend their practices, especially when new compliance rules encroach on their core business models.” This is certainly evident, as two of the companies mentioned for early regulation— Amazon and German fashion retailer Zalando— are already pursuing legal action to dispute their inclusion on the list.
The rules are more significant than ever, as any firm found to breach the regulations could face fines amounting to up to 6% of its global turnover. Repeated offenders are also at risk of being banned from operating in Europe altogether.
The regulations will impact firms differently depending on size. For now, only 19 of the largest online platforms, those with more 45 million users within the EU, are affected by the regulations. Come mid-February 2021, they will apply to more platforms, regardless of their size.
The EU is the global leader in tech regulation, with the potential of introducing even more wide-ranging pieces of legislation— such as the Digital Markets Act and the AI Act— in the near future. As such, the success of the DSA will undoubtedly influence the adoption of similar rules across the world.
As our relationship with technology continues to change, the introduction of the DSA is a sure sign of the times— that technology, and the companies that provide it, must learn to abide by wider regulations, for the safety and protection of those who use it.