17 December 2020
The European Commission has announced far-reaching proposals for regulation of digital platforms and online intermediaries. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) will impose on digital platforms that are designated as “gatekeepers” a long list of obligations to refrain from practices that are considered to limit competition or to otherwise be unfair. In contrast, the Digital Services Act (DSA) focuses on regulating the way that providers of online intermediary services interact with their customers and users, and their obligations in respect of harmful or illegal content, in order to create “uniform rules for a safe predictable and trusted online environment”.
In combination, the two pieces of proposed legislation will create Europe’s most dramatic and interventionist sector-specific regulatory regime in decades, and would require significant changes to the business practices of digital sector players such as Google, Facebook and Apple, but also potentially smaller competitors.
While it is likely to be around two years or more before these proposals result in binding obligations, they are unlikely, in our view, to be significantly watered down during the legislative process.