Protecting people’s rights online

Influencing the new EU law on digital platforms


The European Commission has replied to our crowd-sourced model law on how online platforms should deal with content moderation procedures whilst respecting fundamental rights. In its letter, the Commission highlights the timely nature of our contribution to an ambitious reform of the rules that govern the internet (AKA the “Digital Services Act”) that respects users’ rights and freedoms. 

Black mailboxes / CC0 Bernard Hermant
Black mailboxes / CC0 Bernard Hermant

The European Commission’s writes that in its legislative proposal it has included many of the elements that the Greens/EFA group had suggested in our model law, for instance: 

  1. the right to notify illegal content and harmonised notice and action procedure; 
  2. minimum standards for adequately substantiated notices to ensure legal certainty;
  3. No automatic liability or explicit removal obligation based on the mere receipt of a notice; 
  4. right of the notifier and of the content provider to be informed;
  5. right to counter-notice (internal complaint);
  6. right to independent (out-of-court) dispute settlement and, in all cases, to judicial redress;
  7. guarantees for terms and conditions and respect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
  8. cooperation with authorities and clear rules on cross-border removal orders;
  9. sanctions for non-compliance by the service;
  10. transparency obligations concerning content moderation and removal orders;
  11. extension of scope to non-EU providers offering services in the EU;
  12. exclusion of smaller providers from various obligations. 

Now that we have inspired the European Commission, we will to continue to engage with political groups within the European Parliament during the negotiations on the Digital Services Act so that we arrive at an agreement on new internet rules that respect freedom of expression, users’ rights and fair competition online. We will continue to promote our crowd-sourced model law so that it serves as a basis for the discussion for the negotiations on the Digital Services Act. 

Background: On 14 December, MEPs Alexandra Geese, Patrick Breyer, Marcel Kolaja, Kim Van Sparrentak, and Sergey Lagodinsky addressed a letter to Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, ahead of the publication of the Digital Services Act. The letter draws attention to the Greens/EFA’s legislative proposal for a Notice and Action mechanism and content moderation practices by online platforms as part of the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA). 

Digital Services Act infographic
Digital Services Act infographic

For more information:
Narmine Abou Bakari – Digital Rights Campaigner