Tangible Rules for a World Dictated by Big Tech Giants

Three questions to MEP Alex Agius Saliba about the Digital Services Act (DSA)

What is your most important priority for the Digital Services Act?

Digital services have become the new utilities of our time. Their importance for our social and economic lives will only continue to grow. With the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA), we aim to shape the digital economy at the European Union level and be a standard-setter for the rest of the world, as we did with data protection.

We should also aim to regulate digital services, including online platforms and marketplaces, by creating a digital environment built on trust, choice, and a high level of protection for all consumers, citizens, and SMEs. The DSA should protect and safeguard citizens’ and consumers’ rights and guarantee a better and safer digital environment with real, tangible rules in a virtual world where there are no borders, which have been dictated, so far, by the Big Tech Giants.

Are you concerned about pushback, as was the case with the DSM-directive? What is your biggest fear?

Tangible rules in a virtual world where there are no borders, which have been dictated, so far, by the Big Tech Giants

There will be a lot of interest and pressure in future discussions on the Digital Services Act. I think it is still early stages, to be precise, and we need to evaluate the Commission proposals once they are published. Still, I think this time, the European Parliament is better equipped for the future discussion, as MEPs just voted three DSA reports coming from three different Committees that are already setting the general framework and level of ambition of the forthcoming talks. I hope that the Commission and the Member States will support the European Parliament in the last plenary session’s measures. And together, we can produce an ambitious package that will make a difference for all European citizens and companies.

Will the DSA be the end station for European digital policy? Or do you see other needs around the corner?

The Digital Services act is not an end in itself, but it is a means to achieve a fairer and safer digital environment for citizens and businesses. Shopping, connecting with friends and family, sharing experiences, watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, booking a trip – those are all activities from our everyday life. For anyone of these activities, there is one or multiple online platforms and digital services. The Digital Single Market is all around us and will continue to evolve and change in the future, and so is the European digital policy. One could only hope that the Digital Services Act is as successful as the E-Commerce Directive in withstanding the next few decades’ digital challenges, but it will not be the end station for me.

 MEP Saliba is the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Digital Services Act, his report is available here.