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Countdown to compliance as EU’s Digital Services Act published


The European Union’s flagship reboot of long-standing ecommerce rules — aka the Digital Services Act (DSA) — has now been published in the bloc’s Official Journal.

You can find the full (and final) text of DSA here.

Tech firms’ in-house legal teams will be poring over the detail in the coming months as they figure out how to adapt their policies and procedures to ensure compliance and dodge penalties that can scale up to 6% of global turnover for the more egregious breaches.

The rules are intended to drive accountability online by streamlining how platforms and marketplaces must tackle illegal content, goods and services, as well as bringing in specific provisions for larger platforms that are aimed at increasing transparency around powerful algorithms.

As per EU process, the DSA regulation will enter into force in 20 days’ time (so in mid November). That’s not the real start date though as there’s still a delay before provisions become applicable to allow for a period of adaptation and alignment for businesses.

The bulk of the DSA provisions will apply from January 1, 2024, per the Commission.

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But a subset of obligations — for so-called VLOPs (aka, very large online platforms) — will start to apply next year as the EU has stipulated that application for VLOPs and very large online search engines (aka VLOSEs) will begin four months after they are designated as entering the category.

So a swathe of larger tech firms and Big Tech giants will likely have compliance requirements bearing down on them from early next year.

For more on the rules digital firms will have to abide by in the EU under the new DSA regime, check out our earlier coverage.

A sister regulation, the Digital Markets Act — which exclusively targets Big Tech for ex ante regulation — will also start to apply from early next year. So it’s all change and soon!



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