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Peksa: Digital Services Act

MEP Mikuláš Peksa:

DIGITAL SERVICES ACT – In the EP’s Economic Affairs Committee, I presented our proposal for changing the rules of the internet to meet the needs of the twenty-first century.

The European Commission presented its viewpoint and my task as the person in our committee with responsibility for this text was to turn it into a proposal that takes the internet rules of the game into the reality of today’s world. I have prepared a comprehensive proposal to which we will now negotiate adjustments and compromises with colleagues from other parties.

So, what exactly am I proposing? I want the big Internet companies (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.) to have to act transparently and to have to actually compete on the market. How to achieve this? We need to open up the market and let healthy competition flourish for the giants. We will do this through interoperability: the big internet companies will have to enable other platforms to connect to them – just as today’s e-mail standard allows messages to be sent between different e-mail clients, it should be possible to send a message easily from a new application to Facebook. This will allow smaller players to enter the market and make it harder for the giants to build their own walled gardens. As long as the big players have monopoly power, innovations or even the security of your data are losing out – it’s easier for monopolies to push whatever they want.

The next big issue is protecting the basic rights of users. At the moment, the big internet platforms are acting as judge, jury and executioner.

We need to change that. Even in terms of protecting freedom of speech, we need to make their decisions appealable and reviewable, because for instance, social networks are no longer just some private enterprises, they are key platforms for public communication – and random deletion, especially by robots with no human oversight, is something that really shouldn’t happen there. There must always be human oversight of the deletion of content, and if users’ rights are in any way infringed, it should then be possible to seek compensation from the company in question. Of course, we have also included as many exemptions and reliefs as possible for smaller companies – the most stringent obligations will only be applied to those companies used by 10 percent or more of Europe’s population.

We do not have much time left to finalise the proposal, but I am confident that we will see this through. For the internet to keep its freedom, there must be genuine market competition and protection of fundamental rights, not the arbitrary rule of a few mega-corporations.

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