17 January 2022

Call on the European Parliament to future proof the Digital Services Act

Call on the European Parliament to future proof the Digital Services Act by voting for amendments 512 and 514 and broadening the Know Your Business Customer (KYBC) provisions

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is intended to update the e-Commerce Directive and introduce obligations relating to content moderation, illegal products and transparency and accountability for online intermediaries. It is widely recognized as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the EU to update its rules on e-commerce and guarantee that what is illegal offline remains illegal online. The EU must not let this key moment pass.

As the European Parliament lines up to vote on the file ahead of the plenary in Strasbourg, the KYBC coalition still finds that the current Parliament’s DSA report falls short of ensuring a safe and transparent Internet for all EU businesses and consumers due to the limited scope of its Know Your Business Customer (KYBC) provisions.

As the Internet develops, and due to the changing nature of the online environment, distribution of illegal content online is moving from online marketplaces to social media, messaging apps, and live streaming websites (for example, Cosmetics Business writes that half of counterfeit cosmetics sold online in 2018 were via social media while in 2016, 20% of the sponsored items by influencers on Instagram were fake products).

Currently, the Parliament’s DSA report still limits crucial KYBC provisions solely to online marketplaces and so would do nothing to address the illegality that we are increasingly seeing across all online intermediary services.

If the current DSA text is adopted by the European Parliament in plenary, it would have devastating effects on EU businesses and consumers. Not only would it perpetuate the circulation of illegal and dangerous content and goods, but it would accelerate rogue traders moving from pure online marketplaces to other types of online intermediaries that face less stringent rules.

If the European Parliament fails to broaden the scope of the KYBC provisions to all online intermediary services, it will quickly render the DSA obsolete and outdated before it is even implemented. Crucially, it will also miss its original purpose of ensuring that what is illegal offline is also illegal online.

If Europe is serious about protecting EU consumers and businesses from illegal online content, the KYBC provisions must be broadened. Ahead of this week’s vote, we strongly urge the Members of the European Parliament to vote in favour of Amendments 512 and 514, which were submitted by a group of 67 influential MEPs from across several political groups and broaden the provisions, and to make all online intermediary services, including social media, verify their business users.

by Amaury Libbrecht, Public Affairs Manager, AIM - European Brands Association