On December 15, 2020, the European Commission published its proposals for the European Union Digital Services Act (EU DSA), which aims to create a safer online environment for EU citizens by legally requiring online service providers to swiftly remove illegal content from their platforms.
As a provider of visual risk management and content moderation technology to multiple global organizations, Image Analyzer commissioned technology lawyers at Bird & Bird to write this whitepaper to provide early insights into the legal obligations contained in the EU DSA proposals, and to assist organizations in making the necessary preparations to comply.
The lawyers at Bird & Bird have scrutinised the 113-page proposals and presented the key points of the EU DSA, to help organizations to understand their future obligations and potential legal exposure under the new legal regime.
The 17-page whitepaper describes which organizations will be in scope; what the European Commission deems to be illegal online content; and the penalties for noncompliance with the EU DSA, including fines of up to 6 percent of global turnover.
Bird & Bird points out the extraterritorial scope of the proposed legislation, which is likely to include any online service provider with a significant number of users in the EU.
To avoid placing a disproportionate legal burden on smaller organizations and stifling startup innovation, the EU DSA proposes a four-tiered approach with organizations meeting incremental legal obligations according to the type of service they provide. In the paper, Bird & Bird describes the four categories of service provider defined by the European Commission and the pyramid of obligations they must meet.
Regardless of their tier, all online service providers within scope will have to comply with take-down orders relating to illegal content on their platforms. As a last resort, access to noncompliant services may be suspended within individual EU Member States.
Bird & Bird lists the new legal requirements for online service providers including: production of annual reports and independent audits conducted by risk management experts; the appointment of a legal representative within the EU Member State where service recipients reside; and the appointment of Compliance Officers by Very Large Online Platforms.
The paper also explains that online service providers will have to make clear to users how online content is moderated, whether automated methods are employed and, if so, the level of accuracy and safeguarding measures around the use of algorithmic methods.
While we anticipate further updates will be required as the proposals are finalised, this whitepaper is designed to provide early clarity on whether your organization will be in scope to comply with EU DSA, what your level of legal obligation is likely to be and the measures that your organization can consider putting in place in preparation for the new European law.
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