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Industry-friendly EU Digital Services Act leaves big tech business model intact

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

As of today, the largest internet corporations such as Amazon, Meta (Facebook, Instagram), TikTok, X/Twitter, Youtube and the Google search engine must comply with the new EU Digital Services Act. Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer sat at the negotiating table as rapporteur of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) and dials-down expectations:

“With the Digital Services Act, the European Parliament has tried to over come the surveillance capitalist business model of pervasive online surveillance, but industry and government interests have prevented this. Users are offered no alternative to the platforms’ toxic algorithms which push the most controversial and extreme content to the top of their timelines. Purely chronological timelines are barely usable. Legitimate content, including media reports, is not protected from being suppressed by error-prone upload filters or arbitrarily set platform rules. Freedom of expression online is not protected from cross-border removal orders from illiberal member states without even needing a judge’s order, allowing perfectly legal reports and information to be suppressed. Our digital privacy is protected neither by a right to anonymous internet use nor by a right to encryption or a ban on indiscriminate data retention. The new set of rules does not deserve the name ‘digital constitution’, because the deal fails to protect our fundamental rights on the net.’

On the positive side, minors are protected from surveillance advertising. The ban on using sensitive personality traits such as a user’s political opinion, health conditions or sexual preferences for targeted manipulation was severely watered down. We must finally take the digital age into our own hands instead of leaving it to corporations and surveillance authorities! We Pirates will not relent.”