09/18/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/19/2023 02:14
The Ministry of Transport and Communications requested comments on the government proposal for an act on the monitoring of online intermediary services and for certain other acts. Altogether 36 comments were received.
The proposal would nationally implement the EU Digital Services Act. The Act entered into force on 16 November 2022 and its application has begun in stages. In Finland, the application will, as a rule, begin on 17 February 2024.
Several comments considered the draft proposal to be well prepared, justified and heading in the right direction. According to the comments, the proposal assesses and justifies the choices that are considered nationally essential.
The purpose of the EU Digital Services Act is to improve the transparency and safety of online inter-mediary services for users. At the same time, it harmonises legislation in the EU and promotes the provision of services across the borders of the Member States.
The aim of the Digital Services Act is to protect users from illegal content online and to ensure users' fundamental rights. The Act defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of interme-diary services. It applies to social media services, online marketplaces, internet search engines and other similar applications.
The Act will require online platforms to be more transparent, for example concerning the content rec-ommender systems and moderation they use. In future, users of online platforms will have the right to obtain information about the advertising they see.
The Government proposes that the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom be the coordinating authority for digital services and the main supervisory authority for the Act. Other au-thorities supervising the implementation of the Act would be the Consumer Ombudsman and the Data Protection Ombudsman. The shared monitoring responsibility presented to the supervisory au-thorities was considered appropriate.
The competent authorities would be given the powers necessary for monitoring, such as the right to carry out inspections and obtain information necessary for monitoring. Most comments considered the authorities' investigative powers to be sufficient and appropriately limited. Some of the comments expressed concerns about overlapping monitoring responsibilities in situations where several obliga-tions are violated simultaneously.
Sanction fees could be imposed for violating the Act. As the regulation in the Digital Services Act is new, many of the comments expressed a wish that, in the early stages of implementation, resources be directed to guidance and counselling instead of just sanctions.
The proposal includes provisions on the guidelines for Traficom in imposing sanction fees of more than EUR 100,000. In future, the decision would be made by a multimember body, i.e. the collegial sanctions body, not by an individual public official. The comments supported the collegial sanctions body as a rule, but there were different views on the euro-denominated threshold.
A compilation of the comments received on the draft Government proposal for an act on the monitor-ing of online intermediary services and for certain other acts is available in the Gateway to infor-mation on Government projects. Following the consultation round, the preparation of the government bill will continue as part official duties at the Ministry.
Digital Services Act
Kreetta Simola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, kreetta.simola(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 609
Roosa Patrakka, Senior Officer, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 192