January 20, 2022
“Digital Services Act the start of a much-needed process,” says Chris MacManus MEP

“Digital Services Act the start of a much-needed process,” says Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP believes crack-down on illegal content & misinformation will protect safety of users.

“I welcome the approval of the parliament’s position on the Digital Services Act by the European Parliament today,” said Chris MacManus MEP for the Midlands-Northwest. “While far from a perfect document, this is an important step towards making EU laws fit for the digital age.”

The Digital Services Act, voted on by MEPs on Thursday 20 January, aims to regulate illegal content online and protect the fundamental rights of internet users. It places a series of responsibilities and obligations on web services to act against illegal content placed on their sites, and to improve transparency and safeguards for users. The online services covered by the Act include domain name registrars, cloud services, online marketplaces, app stores and social media platforms. The larger the service, the more responsibilities it faces in regard to tackling illegal online content. ‘Very large online platforms’ (those that reach 10% or more of the EU’s 450 million consumers) have the greatest obligations, including complaints mechanisms and requirements to vet the credentials of suppliers selling products via their platforms. 

“The Digital Services Act particularly aims to regulate the largest tech companies operating in the EU, by making them more accountable for tackling disinformation and illegal content, and reigning in the use of problematic algorithms,” said MacManus, speaking after the vote. “The European Parliament’s position is unfortunately lacking in some respects. I would have preferred to see better language on interoperability and the possibility for more enforcement options for the countries where consumers are based. The final text also prioritises trade secrets over transparency when it comes to recommender systems.”

“On the other hand, I was happy to see the inclusion of some key amendments which I supported. These include stricter rules on targeted advertising, meaning that internet users must be able to easily opt out of receiving targeted ads without experiencing a lower-quality service. In addition, platform services should respect consumer privacy by only collecting the bare minimum of data necessary to allow them to use that service. These are important steps towards building an online digital environment that prioritises the rights and privacy of citizens, while breaking the hold of a few large tech companies over our digital space.”   

“I voted in favour of the parliament’s position on the DSA, but this is only the start of a much-needed process,” concluded MacManus. “I await the outcome of trilogue negotiations with the Council to see what the final legislation will look like. Nevertheless, today marked an important milestone towards better regulation of big tech companies and illegal online content in the EU.” ENDS

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