Government proposal implementing EU Digital Services Act sent out for comments
The Ministry of Transport and Communications requests comments on the draft government proposal on the implementation of the EU Digital Services Act and on the collegial body to be set up at the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom for imposing sanction fees. The deadline for submitting comments is 18 August 2023.
The Government proposal would implement the EU Digital Services Act at the national level. 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.
The purpose of the EU Digital Services Act is to improve the transparency and safety of online intermediary 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 Act is to protect users from illegal content online and to ensure their fundamental rights. It defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services. The Act 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 recommender systems and moderation they use. In future, users of online platforms will have the right to obtain information about the advertising they see.
The Act contains EU-wide procedures for online intermediary service providers to handle illegal content in their services. The accountability of service providers for illegal content will increase.
As an EU regulation, the Digital Services Act is directly applicable legislation. The obligations are adapted to the nature of the intermediary service and the size of the service provider. In Finland, the implementation of the Digital Services Act requires that competent supervisory authorities be set up and provisions on the powers and sanctions related to the matter be laid down.
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 regulation. Other authorities supervising the implementation of the Act would be the Consumer Ombudsman and the Data Protection Ombudsman. The competent authorities would be given the powers necessary for supervision, such as the right to carry out inspections and obtain information necessary for supervision. In future, sanction fees could be imposed for violating the Act.
The proposal would make a change as to who in Traficom would decide on 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 consultation round on the Government proposal on the implementation of the EU Digital Services Act and on the collegial body to be set up at the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom for imposing sanction fees will be open until 18 August 2023. All organisations and private individuals may submit comments online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi. Following the consultation round, Ministry officials will continue the preparations for the Act.
The national application of the Digital Services Act will, as a rule, begin on 17 February 2024.
Digital Services Act:
Kreetta Simola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, kreetta.simola(at)gov.fi, tel. 0295342609
Roosa Patrakka, Senior Officer, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. 0295342192
Traficom collegial body for sanctions:
Tuomas Kaivola, Senior Ministerial Adviser,
tuomas.kaivola(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 366