[ccwg-internet-governance] EU DIGITAL SERVICES ACT- CONTENT REGULATION

Nigel Hickson nigel.hickson at icann.org
Wed Jan 8 13:27:33 UTC 2020


Colleagues

A body that represents the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon has spelled out proposals for regulating online content, including an oversight body to keep track of how platforms moderate illegal material.

The position Paper is at https://edima-eu.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Responsibility-Online.pdf?utm_source=POLITICO.EU&utm_campaign=231733fd57-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_07_05_31&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10959edeb5-231733fd57-189801229

It is a contribution to the growing debate in Brussels (which we are tracking) over the proposals that the European Commission may include in the forthcoming Digital Services Act.

The Commission have noted it will, inter-alia, address illegal on-line content and (in doing so) amend the current liability relief clauses in the E-Commerce Directive.

Perhaps we may discuss the potential importance of these measures for the DNS in a future Call.

Best

Nigel













In a position paper [politico.us8.list-manage.com]<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__politico.us8.list-2Dmanage.com_track_click-3Fu-3De26c1a1c392386a968d02fdbc-26id-3D90f82fcee5-26e-3D1223bcdae4&d=DwMFaQ&c=FmY1u3PJp6wrcrwll3mSVzgfkbPSS6sJms7xcl4I5cM&r=RrrXyaBfa00GH1liTedM3FwobVakuhJ-qs1N8-Ji8VE&m=Fg7W6g0gKDY0nIvPnwOWvv_0J2h8RalJUBBVoRpHsCA&s=X3mCus1H2u4oooDR7oRg-BLruhjkIpKCoKVUCEomRi4&e=> calling for the creation of an “Online Responsibility Framework,” tech lobby Edima said it wants to be “a constructive driver of the Digital Services Act discussions in Brussels.”

That act is a European Commission initiative expected to be delivered at the end of 2020 that will set requirements on how platforms deal with illegal content online. One of the Commission’s objectives is to harmonize rules within the EU, as countries such as France and Germany have taken national initiatives on hate speech online or disinformation.

Edima’s paper, which was sent to Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on Tuesday, is one of the clearest wish lists to be spelled out by the tech sector since the Digital Services Act was officially announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Six aspects should be taken into account in the discussion around tackling illegal content online, the tech lobby wrote: the objectives to be addressed; distinguishing responsibility from liability; workability with other initiatives; the scope of the framework; the content to be focused on; and a potential oversight body.

The tech companies also ask the Commission to focus first on illegal content, which is more easily defined, before including harmful material in the scope of any future framework.

Responsibility vs. liability

As a basis for the “Online Responsibility Framework,” platforms should benefit from a good Samaritan clause of sorts, and not be held liable for the content they host if they “take additional measures” to tackle illegal material, Edima argues. (Under the 2000 e-commerce directive, platforms are not legally responsible for what they host as long as they don’t have knowledge of illegal activity.)

The e-commerce directive’s country of origin principle and the prohibition of general monitoring obligations should be kept in place, the lobby said.

Breton said during his European Parliament hearing that both principles would remain untouched. Asked whether the Commission still stood by those comments, a spokesperson said the EU executive “will present a new Digital Services Act to upgrade our liability and safety rules for digital platforms, services and products, and complete our digital single market.”

“Furthermore, the Commission plans to address issues related to platforms responsibility and accountability also in the context of the European Democracy Action Plan,” the spokesperson added. That plan will be led by Věra Jourová, the VP for values and transparency.

Edima also calls for the notice and action regime to be maintained and clarified, and for a clear distinction between responsibility and liability.

“Responsibility in this sense would mean systemic steps, processes and procedures which a service provider can put in place to address illegal content or activity more proactively,” the document reads.

The tech lobby also suggests a new EU-level oversight body that would provide guidance and ensure companies do take measures to fight against illegal content, in a co-regulatory approach.

Another message from Edima is that internet companies are not the only ones with a role to play in keeping people safe online: “We urge policymakers to take the role of every actor in the online ecosystem into account and enforce their responsibilities effectively — be they users themselves, right holders, law enforcement agencies, trusted flaggers.”

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