Technology, business models and societal challenges are in a constant process of evolution. The ever-widening variety of digital services is the backbone of our increasingly connected world.
This now includes social networks, media-sharing platforms, search engines, cloud infrastructure and online marketplaces for goods and services.
Despite the dramatic pace of change, the overarching legal framework for digital services has remained unchanged since 2000. It is time to update the rules to reflect today’s digital reality. This will not be an easy task. The many different digital services available today cover a huge range of activities and play a central role in how citizens communicate, how they share and consume information and how they access products and services offered online. Online advertising, sorting and content recommendation are important features and services of many of the digital service providers.
Of course, the regulations must also be relevant for new innovative digital services that are still to come.
The European Commission has presented a proposal for new rules to govern the internal market for digital services (Digital Services Act). The Commission has also presented its proposals for a new Digital Markets Act. Some of the largest internet platforms - including Amazon, Google and Apple - will be impacted by both proposals.
Digital services are used by millions of companies, large and small, in virtually all industries. These new rules are likely to have a major impact on both the business community, and we individual consumers, for a long time to come.
The new legislation must avoid overturning the many benefits that digital services contribute. While regulation may be necessary to protect, for example, fundamental rights or prevent unfair competition, it does not create or promote innovation. Therefore, any regulatory work needs to be undertaken with the greatest of care. The business community cannot stress hard enough the importance of preceding regulatory work with in-depth impact assessments. The community also emphasises that the rules must be formulated in a way that is as technology-neutral and as principle-based as possible. This is particularly important in sectors where there are rapidly emerging new technologies. In addition, For start-ups and small and medium-sized companies to be able to compete on equal terms simple and clear regulations are also a prerequisite.
Our initial comments on the proposals can be found below.EUData governanceDataflödenData strategyData