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Digital Services Act: End surveillance capitalism and AI censorship!

The European Parliament‘s Internal Market (IMCO) Committee today adopted its report on the proposed Digital Services Act (DSA). The Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee adopted its report on the Digital Services Act two weeks ago, focusing on privacy and fundamental rights. The Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will vote on its report on Thursday, focussing on content moderation and freedom of speech.

Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party, Greens/EFA group), the Legal Affairs Committee‘s opinion rapporteur on the Digital Services Act, comments: „In all documents the European Parliament is calling on the Commission to effectively protect our privacy online. The Digital Services Act needs to contain strict sector-specific rules to prevent personal data misuse and identity theft. Citizens shall be given the right to use internet services anonymously, and the permanent recording of our digital life shall come to an end. Europe needs to put an end to the age of surveillance capitalism!“

Breyer‘s second priority is to enforce freedom of expression in view of the widespread deployment of error-prone upload filters: „The current rules exclude a legal obligation to generally monitor users online for potentially unlawful behaviour. But we need to expand this exclusion to rule out content filters. These unreliable censorship algorithms suppress countless legal speech (overblocking), and underpaid platform moderators cannot compensate for this. Law enforcement is the government‘s job and nobody else‘s!“

Finally Breyer calls on the Commission to tackle the quasi-monopoly of platforms such as Facebook or Twitter: “We need to make the dominant players allow exchanging messages with alternative platforms. Overcoming the lock-in effect is key to opening social media platforms and messenging services for competition and true user choice (interconnectivity).”

The Digital Services Act has fundamental effects on the future of digital services and online platforms

The upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA) is considered the next major project to regulate digitisation at EU level, after the general data protection regulation (GDPR) and the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. The legislative project is intended to replace the e-commerce directive, which has been in force since 2000, and thus establish fundamentally new rules for commercial Internet services.

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