Consent Management
November 8, 2023

The Digital Services Act (DSA)

AUTHOR: Liza Kruse

Digital Service Act: What You need to know about this groundbreaking Legislation

With the advent of the Internet and the subsequent emergence of digital platforms such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and others, the experience of Internet users has been significantly shaped by these entities. Today, it is almost unimaginable to use the Internet without these search engines and platforms. Until now, digital services have been governed by the "E-Commerce Directive" for over 20 years. This is now to be expanded and updated by the Digital Service Act, as the monopoly of the tech giants leads to unfair competitive conditions and simultaneously massive influence on society and economy.

What is the Digital Service Act?

The Digital Service Act (DSA) is new legislation from the European Commission affecting online platforms and businesses. With the DSA, rules are to be established for digital services and content to regulate the European markets and ensure the protection of information.

The bill provides that online services should be liable for content shared on their platforms. This should help combat the spread of illegal content such as hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Moreover, online services would be required to be more transparent about their decisions to remove content. Furthermore, the Digital Service Act in the EU is aiming to strengthen user rights. Also, platforms are expected to take action against fake reviews and fake news. Overall, the Digital Service Act EU is intended to enhance trust in online services and ensure fair competition in the European market.

What does the Digital Service Act regulate?

The Digital Service Act (DSA) is a European regulation aimed at improving the regulation of online platforms and establishing standard rules for digital services in the European Union (EU). The main objectives of the DSA are to strengthen consumer protection in the digital space and create fair competition between different providers of digital services. Specifically, platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are to be more regulated to ensure that they better fulfill their responsibility towards users and other companies.

An important part of the DSA is the introduction of a new liability arrangement for digital services. This should ensure that platforms can be held accountable for illegal content or products on their pages. This is intended to ensure that online platforms better protect their users and take responsibility for the content on their platforms. It will oblige platforms to take action against illegal content such as hate speech, disinformation, and copyright infringement.

Overall, the Digital Services Act is intended to strengthen consumers' trust in digital services while creating fair conditions for all providers. Furthermore, the regulation will also set requirements for the interoperability of online services. This means that users should be able to move their data more easily between different services. In addition, the DSA will introduce transparency rules for digital advertising. Platform operators must provide users with clear information about who is behind an advertisement and how it was financed. Overall, the Digital Service Act aims to strengthen users' trust in digital services and promote a secure and open Internet in Europe.

When does the Digital Services Act come into force?

The law was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on April 23, 2022. It was published in the Official Journal on October 27, 2022. This can be viewed via the link of the German government. The law comes into effect on November 16, 2022 and applies from February 17, 2024 in all EU countries.

Who does the Digital Services Act apply to?

The Digital Services Act applies to all companies that offer their services online, regardless of whether they are based in or outside the EU. Consequently, online providers include, in particular, Internet providers, E-commerce stores, App stores, hosting services such as cloud and web hosting services, as well as platforms of the collaborative economy and social media platforms. Special provisions apply to very large online platforms and search engines, which can be read here.

Consequently, online providers include, in particular, Internet providers, E-commerce stores, App stores, hosting services such as cloud and web hosting services, as well as platforms of the collaborative economy and social media platforms.

How does the Digital Services Act impact online platforms?

Companies that operate online and fall within the scope of the Digital Services Act (DSA) of the European Union must take various aspects into consideration:

  • Responsibility for content: Under the DSA, online platforms must take greater responsibility for the content hosted on their platforms. This may involve intensified content moderation processes and improved systems for reporting and removing illegal content

  • Transparency: Companies must inform their users clearly and transparently about their methods, particularly with regard to advertising, content moderation, and processing of user data. They must also publish transparency reports on their moderation practices

  • Complaint mechanisms: Companies must provide clear and effective mechanisms for user complaints and objections, both through internal procedures and by providing access to independent arbitration bodies

  • Data protection: The DSA requires companies to ensure a high level of data protection and data security, particularly in relation to minor users and the use of profiling and personalised advertising

  • Compliance and sanctions: Companies must ensure that they meet all the requirements of the DSA. Failure to comply can result in substantial sanctions and fines

To prepare for these requirements, companies should review and update their existing practices and policies, implement a robust data protection management system, and provide appropriate resources to comply with these new regulations. It is also advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that all requirements of the DSA are met.

Act Now: Protect Your Business from Legal Risks Associated with the Digital Services Act (DSA)

How do you protect yourself from legal risks?

If your company operates in the digital world and does business in the EU, you should probably expand your data protection measures and make improvements to your consent management. Regardless of whether your company is classified as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) or is considered a gatekeeper, the Digital Services Act will likely eventually have an impact on your business processes. With a proactive approach, you can prepare for the impending requirements and changes.

Regardless of whether your company is classified as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) or is considered a gatekeeper, the Digital Services Act will likely eventually have an impact on your business processes.

What should you pay attention to?

Here are a few general aspects you should familiarize yourself with:

Handling of customer data:

  • How do you collect customer data and what is the further use of the data?

  • Review your policies regarding obtaining your users' consents, e.g., when using a cookie banner

  • Do you have an agreement with third parties about the sharing of customer data?

Data protection on websites or apps:

  • Have you implemented appropriate data protection measures on your website or app so that users' consent is obtained in a lawful manner?

  • Is there a transparent privacy policy that meets the requirements of the Digital Services Act?

How can a CMP help you implement and comply with requirements?

A Consent Management Platform (CMP) helps you to reliably and transparently collect and process user data. A well-configured CMP ensures compliance with various data protection laws.

Users are more willing to share their data if they are informed about the purpose of the processing and use.

This protection is continuously ensured thanks to regular updates, taking into account new laws such as the Digital Services Act. In the process, a good CMP informs you about changes in data protection laws and about compliance with these. This creates transparency for your users, which has a significant impact on the customer relationship. Users are more willing to share their data if they are informed about the purpose of the processing and use. Read a Harvard study on this: As a result, an effective CMP not only protects you from legal risks but also your users and also improves your data quality.

Enhancing Data Protection Compliance with Usercentrics' CMP

Usercentrics dominates as a global leader in the field of Consent Management Platforms (CMP). The innovative software solution allows businesses to efficiently capture, manage and document user consents on websites and in apps. Usercentrics' main goal is to assist companies in not only achieving global data protection compliance, but also in optimizing and simplifying it. Through the integration of Usercentrics, businesses can effectively bolster data protection and gain their users' trust.

Benefits of Using Usercentrics' CMP:

  • Allows secure collection of user consents

  • Safeguards user privacy, thus creating transparency

  • Transparency in handling personal data so that users always get insights into how their data is collected and for what purpose it is further processed

  • Provides analyses of consent preferences to optimize consent rates

  • Ensures the fulfilment of relevant data protection regulations (GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, POPIA, DSA, DMA)

  • Gets regularly updated and automated to comply with new privacy laws

Successful Implementation of Your CMP with DWC

DWC serves as a reliable partner in the implementation of your CMP. DWC is a premium expert partner of Usercentrics, which speaks to a close collaboration with Usercentrics. We have been partnering with Usercentrics as a premium implementation and service partner for over 5 years, successfully implemented and configured a CMP for various customers worldwide more than 200 times, thereby gaining experience in over 25 different industries.

In this context, we make sure to configure your CMP according to your individual requirements. DWC checks which data protection laws are relevant to you and whether all the necessary measures have been implemented, so that no data protection weaknesses remain open. Moreover, we are always there for you in case of any queries or if you want to expand your service offerings, such as optimizing your consent rate.

Advantages of collaborating with dwc:

  • During the implementation, we create individual solutions that are tailored to your specific requirements, instead of implementing a standardized and thus incorrectly configured CMP

  • DWC ensures that you consider new requirements from data protection laws in the configuration and adjust them if necessary, thus continually protecting you against legal risks

  • For your customers, we create transparency in the handling and use of their data, thereby improving your data quality, so that you can get the most out of your customer data

  • With dwc, you gain a long-term partner, as we stay in close contact with our customers and support them to the best of our knowledge

Further DWC services you can benefit from:

  • Server-side tracking: In addition to implementing and configuring your CMP, we can optimize your tracking upon request so that you can process the largest and most accurate amount of behavioural data in a data protection-compliant manner

  • Strategic Consulting: We advise you on your data strategy in addition to your CMP, and therefore maximize the potential of your processing and analysis processes. As a result, you benefit from automated processes and can concentrate on what you do best

Don't hesitate to contact us for a free and non-binding initial consultation.

Further relevant references:

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