CDT Europe joins civil society organisations in a joint letter, issued to the members of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament, in advance of the Committee’s vote on its opinion on the Digital Service Act (DSA).
In the letter, organisations call on committee members to focus on protecting rule of law and human rights safeguards for users’ speech in their recommendations. By strongly countering currently tabled amendments that would interfere with the privacy of users, that would impose unduly strict timeframes for content removal and by creating a framework in which government- mandated trusted flaggers and their notices become tantamount to governmental orders for removal.
Civil society is calling for members to consider their global leadership role and centre the protection of fundamental rights for all within the DSA. Upholding intermediary liability exemptions and prohibiting general monitoring is foundational in supporting the rights of freedom of expression, association, and access to information.
A portion of the letter is pasted below. For the full letter + list of signatories, read more here.
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are writing to share our concerns about recent suggestions to the proposed Digital Services Act that are currently being negotiated in the European Parliament. We highlight below human rights-based concepts that must be respected, and proposals currently debated in the European Parliament that could abandon core tenets that made the internet free and jeopardize the goal of creating a human rights-centric model of platform governance.
The proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) offers an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate transparency and openness, and return agency and control over information to Internet users. If done right, the DSA can address some of today’s most pressing challenges and help better protect fundamental rights online. However, if done wrong, it can endanger freedom of expression and have a devastating effect for vulnerable communities.
We welcome the significant efforts by leading MEPs in the responsible European Parliament committees to shape new rules aimed at modernizing the e-Commerce Directive. Procedural justice elements, more transparency online, and a human-rights based approach for regulating intermediary liability are important additions to current internet rules. However, we
are very concerned about certain proposals we believe could easily undermine pillars of the e-Commerce Directive that are crucial in a free and democratic society. Free speech online, protection of marginalized groups, and respect for users’ private communication are key principles that should not be up for negotiation.