EU is going to protect internet users with huge fines

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Within four months, nineteen large companies must comply with the European Digital Services Act (DSA). The new legislation should better protect internet users against harmful content and provide more transparency.

These are mostly Big Tech companies, but Zalando and also fall under the DSA. According to privacy lawyer Menno Weij of BDO Legal, the list is still being expanded. The nineteen that have now been selected by the European Commission count at least 45 million monthly active users.

The DSA regulation should better protect adult internet users against harmful content, advertising and privacy violations. The legislation makes it easier to deal with companies that proliferate child pornography, inflammatory and hateful material or disinformation. Supervision is becoming tighter and it is becoming more difficult to avoid punishment.

“In case of violation, a company on the list will be fined up to six percent of their worldwide annual turnover”

Menno Weij, privacy lawyer

The DSA is intended to ‘combat evil on the internet’, says Weij. The DSA is the successor to the e-commerce directive that says something about the handling of content, and stands up especially for minors. Weij, on the other hand, believes that Europe is putting on big pants when it comes to combating ‘illegal content’. The starting point for the e-commerce directive was that someone was not liable for the content, ‘unless’. However, in this DSA that principle is not completely abandoned.’

Also listen | That’s how clever and scary is ChatGPT, and how strict is the Digital Services Act now?

Nevertheless, the DSA also brings opportunities, Weij sees. Companies need to adopt a much more transparent attitude. ‘They must be open about matters, communicate in easier language and provide certain data’

These are mostly Big Tech companies that are on the list, but Zalando and also fall under the DSA. The new legislation should better protect adult internet users against harmful content. The DSA makes it easier to tackle companies and supervision is tightened. (ANP / AFP)


If violated, a company on the list will be fined six percent of their global annual turnover. Weij wonders whether this really hurts all the companies mentioned. “Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, the fine is four percent of global annual turnover, but the fine is not often given and sometimes it makes little difference.” Weij refers to Google, which was fined 50 million euros a few years ago. ‘That’s a lot of money, but the question is how much that really saved a major player like Google.’

According to Weij, a fine of six percent of the worldwide annual turnover can certainly be of benefit. That is why the privacy lawyer hopes that strict action will be taken in the event of a violation from now on.

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