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European Parliament approves its Digital Services Act

European Union headquarters
(Image credit: Image Credit: Jai79 / Pixabay)

New legislation that lays down rules for how internet companies (opens in new tab) are required to keep European users safer online has been approved by the European Parliament.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) outlines the requirements for controlling online disinformation and policing illegal content, as well as goods and services.

DSA legislation means that people online will no longer be able to be targeted by referencing their religion, gender or sexual preferences.

Similarly, deceptive web design (opens in new tab), known as dark patterns, will also be banned, preventing people from unwittingly clicking on online content.

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Better online security

Other measures that will be introduced as a direct result of the DSA implementation will include large online platforms having to provide evidence of steps being taken to tackle misinformation or propaganda.

In addition, victims of cyber violence and non-consensual sharing of illegal content should be protected by having questionable content taken down more swiftly.

The safeguards also promise to help protect children too, with moves to ensure higher levels of privacy and safety for minors on the cards. It will include a clampdown on children being targeted by online advertising.

Companies that fail to follow the new rules could face stiff penalties, with fines that could reach up to 6 percent of global turnover on the cards for the worst offenders. 

The passing of the DSA follows on from the recent ruling by the EU to pass the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is aimed at forcing big tech companies into handle customer data more responsibly.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU. It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online. 

The greater the size, the greater the responsibilities of online platforms.”

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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.