Parliament builds momentum in anticipation of European Commission’s Digital Services Act

The European Parliament has in recent weeks approved the following committee reports relating to the European Commission’s upcoming Digital Services Act.

MEP Tiemo Wölken’s report for the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) looks at “adapting commercial and civil law rules for commercial entities operating online”. In a press conference following the Committee vote, Wöelken highlighted advertising practices which the report sought to change, “We need to address the business practice of selling personalised targeted ads and the impact this has on the spread of harmful content”. He explained that the prerogative of the JURI report, was not to censor unwanted content but to make users less dependent on algorithm’s that he said rewarded “attention-seeking” content.

MEP Saliba’s report for the Internal Market Committee (IMCO) also suggests introducing changes which could impact the advertising industry. IMCO wishes to see stricter rules placed upon targeted advertising as well as strengthening of the official obligations currently set out under the e-commerce directive on commercial communications and digital advertising. The report specifically seeks the provision of imposing ex-ante obligations upon platforms which hold a “gatekeeper” role in the market with the hope that this would encourage the development of SME’s and start-ups.

Finally, the Civil Liberties Committee’s (LIBE) report, which looks at improving the functioning of the internal market in light of the Digital Services Act ,has also been adopted by the committee. Like the JURI report, LIBE advocates for opt-out options for content curation, as well as highlighting issues surrounding data protection, illegal content, and free expression online. This may also impact and curtail existing advertising practices.

All three reports will now be voted upon in the upcoming plenary sessions scheduled for 19-22 October.