DSA (Digital Services Act)


Today like never before people are looking that in the real world in which they interact with each other, and it is becoming day to day more apparent the importance of digital space. Public services are offered on online platforms, while those which are private subjects are operating in online markets like Amazon. This has enhanced the advantages and disadvantages of these markets, raising a fundamental question. Is it time for systematic and coordinative legislation for this space? The answer is yes, and this reformation will bring many benefits to citizens, businesses, and society. 

What is Digital Services Act (DSA) and what group of interest does it impact? 

Digital Services Act is a proposal of the European Commission (EC) which had taken other previous initiatives that had in focus security and cyber market control. “e-Commerce Directive” was one of them, ratified on 8 June 2000 to ensure a high-level of Community legal integration in order to establish a real area without internal borders for information society services. [1] In continuance of this initiative, but 20 years later when the circumstances of online markets have differed, European Commission introduced new regulations which aim unification, transparency, and security of people. This will be ensured by the proposal that was presented on 15 December 2020, where first DMA was ratified on 25 march 2022 and then DSA on 23 April 2022. [2]

The main purpose of these new rules is:

  • To create a safer digital space where fundamental human rights of internet users are respected.
  • To create a competitive, fair, and innovative market for the European and global market.

Digital Service Act helps citizens, providers of digital services, businesses that use these services, and also society in general. The most important reason, for citizens, is the security of their personal data, more choices with lower prices, and less exposure to illegal or unwanted content. For businesses, it will be offered more legal certainty, harmonization of rules, and easier start-ups. [3] These rules will be applied for intermediary services, which include smaller sections. Intermediary services examples are: companies that offer internet access like VODAFONE or EAGLE or websites that can create and share domains like Web.com.[4] Hosting Services are part of Intermediary Services. They ensure the normal functioning of websites or data, for example, BlueHosting. After that, there are also Online Platforms that are greater in number and can be accessed by internet users like ( in our case) online shopping apps, social media, and collaborative economic platforms. Online platforms include very large platforms which are visited by a very large number of users, of which 10% are from European Union. [5]

Basic principles of Digital Service Act

European Commission like every law or resolution it introduces, has several elements that are inspired by the nature of the organization. For example, multiethnicity, reciprocity, justice, and inclusion. From this point of view, DSA has these principles:

  • The legal basis is Article 114[6] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which states: “The Commission, in its proposals envisaged in paragraph 1 concerning health, safety, environmental protection, and consumer protection, will take as a base a high level of protection, taking account in particular of any new development based on scientific facts. Within their respective powers, the European Parliament and the Council will also seek to achieve this objective.” So in this case the DSA regulates relationships between consumers, entrepreneurs and internet users that in recent years have shown their positive and negative sides. For example, disputes related to personal data theft, loss or unauthorized sharing of internet users and consumers, problems related to the normal functioning of businesses that operate through digital services, and more.
  • Subsidiarity is connected to the internet’s nature that is transnational and for that reason, it is harder to control. Because of that legislative efforts of every state would be ineffective in keeping the digital space safe, because possible relationships between different states that are not member states in the EU could form. For this reason, the reform needed to be at an international level so that every member state could respect its rules equally. 
  • Proportionality is related to the fact the European Union’s mission is to encourage responsible and diligent behiavour from the providers of intermediary services. This way internet users will be free to exercise their fundamental rights, like the right to express their opinion freely. So, Very large platforms have greater obligations than the ones that are smaller. [7]

Which are some rules that DSA provides?

The new rules for intermediary services obligated them to make transparency reports; to include on TERMS OF SERVICE due amount of human fundamental rights; to collaborate with national authorities to prevent illegal data and content sharing; to have points of contact and legal representatives and to notify users with additional information.

With this act, intermediary services and more have to report criminal offenses in digital space, and/or offer complaint and redress mechanisms and out-of-court dispute settlements. These platforms have to ac effectively against illegal actions while taking measurements. Also now DSA prohibits targeted advertisements that target children or other individuals. 

How will these rules impact our reality?

First, this act aims to expand the right to expression by keeping internet users’ identities anonymous in the EU and more. Except that, very large platforms that have over 10% of EU internet users, will be under public observation. This will tackle advertisement problem that targets specific groups of individuals. It will be possible to identify illegal services and those who control them by applying measurements in DSA. Researchers of cyber security will be able to access pieces of information related to online risks. In the EU a centralized structure will be created that will control digital space security. This way citizens will feel safe with their data just like they do in the real world. Considering that Albania is a candidate member in the EU, we need to adapt this act, this coming after recent events of data leakage of Albanian citizens. Digital Service Act and Digital Market Act’s mission is to revolutionize data sharing and digital services safely and more easily.