The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act were offered by the EU this week to “encompass a single set of new rules applicable across the whole EU. They will create a safer and more open digital space, with European values at its center… The European Commission proposed two legislative initiatives: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DSA and DMA have two main goals:
- to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected
- to establish a level playing field to foster innovation, growth, and competitiveness, both in the European Single Market and globally
Policymakers need to tread carefully, or they risk damaging the infrastructure of the Internet and disrupting its evolution. For example, if upcoming legislation proposes making Internet intermediaries act as “trusted flaggers” of content, this would move them away from their core activity, expose them to litigation, damage competition, and disrupt the free and efficient flow of data around the globe.
Similarly, any attempt to mandate “upload filters” risks undermining innovation – one of the key goals for Europe in the forthcoming years. Likewise undermining encryption could create significant security holes in the infrastructure and leave European users and services exposed to attacks and surveillance
The EU is showing leadership here in recognizing that we need to collectively retrace our steps because mega tech companies have become something akin to sovereign nations and it is impacting our privacy and security.
They have substantial income and hold a huge percentage of the world’s information on consumers, and because of their behaviors, countries must now step in to protect their citizens. We don’t fully know what they have or where it’s being sold. We see trends where mega-tech companies glean intel from their competitors in unprecedented ways and then create products to undercut them, stifling innovation.
I applaud the EU for taking these big steps, such as enabling consumers to uninstall apps, as just one example. The ban on mixing data and the move to enable businesses to free access their own data are two more.
And just as NZ did, the EU is starting to lay meaningful legal boundaries for what constitutes privacy violation and put into place significant penalties and structural remedies. These big companies are gatekeepers suppressing smaller companies rather than allowing natural market competition. Maybe, just maybe, we’re approaching a meaningful point of reining in the unbridled power they’ve seized when they seized consumer data.
The concept behind these two new pieces of legislation is sound. Sure, users should be able to uninstall apps that have come with their devices if they so choose. And yes, it would be nice for tech giants to showcase apps not developed by them. However, there is always the very real possibility that apps not associated with the platform vendor may be less secure. It\’s hard enough for tech giants to keep their heads above cybersecurity waters. Imagine how difficult it will be for the small guys to guarantee their apps are 100% secure. They can\’t. It\’s a choice that will now become the burden of the tech consumer and not the tech provider. Consume wisely!