Earlier today, AmCham Lithuania has sent an official letter to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation regarding the proposals for the Digital Services Act. Please find below the letter in full.
American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania (AmCham) is a non-profit, non-governmental business association representing more than 150 U.S., international and local companies in Lithuania. Founded in 1993 by a small group of American companies and individuals today AmCham is the leading international business organisation in the country.
On 28 January, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation launched a public consultation with the questionnaire on the new business responsibilities provided for in the proposal for the Digital Services Act published by the European Commission (DSA) at the end of 2020.
Whereas DSA falls within the interests of the members of AmCham, please find below our representative position comprising the responses to certain questions set out in the questionnaire summarised as follows.
I. Concerning the scope of DSA application (concepts; relationship with other legislation)
We welcome the European Commission’s targeted scope in its proposed DSA, requiring different rules for different services. Yet AmCham would see beneficial to:
– Clarify the definition of illegal content.
Whereas Commission has explicitly stated that the DSA does not purport to define what illegal content is and that it shall remain a matter for applicable national and EU law, regulation should be limited to what every government defines as illegal. AmCham would suggest considering the tightening of the definition of illegal content in this respect.
A clear line between illegal and harmful content, with regulation to address digital safety risks associated with harmful content focused on systems and processes, would also be beneficial to clarify the scope of DSA.
– Clarify the definition of marketplaces, online platforms and hosting services.
The clarification of definitions with respect to dissemination to the public interpretation might be beneficial.
AmCham would see considerable to separate the obligations arising to online platforms allowing the consumers to conclude a distance contract with the trader on the online platform and third-party trader’s sites.
– Categorize the services.
The specified regime for differentiated categories of services might be beneficial so the obligations match the services according to their:
- type (for ex. Cloud services the main purpose of which is not to disseminate information to the public, but rather to allow users to store personal content and share it within closed circles) and
- risk profiles – as different business models and architectures raise distinct risk profiles.
- Notably, certain features in a service might be in a different category than the main service.
II. Concerning DSA Article 8 (Orders to act against illegal content): an obligation to respond to a request from Lithuania or other EU Member State competent authority to remove illegal content, i.e. immediately inform when and what specific action has been taken
As aforementioned the focus of the DSA regulation on illegal content is welcome, yet the scope of the definition itself should be limited to that which the EU Member State defines as illegal.
III. Concerning DSA Article 13 (Transparency reporting): an obligation to publish, at least once a year, easy-to-understand and comprehensive transparency reports on the moderation of content by the digital service provider during the relevant period. An obligation does not apply to micro and small enterprises.
When introducing online advertising transparency requirements, it shall be ensured that these requirements are reasonable and proportionate. Each requirement shall seek to achieve and define its scope in a proportionate manner, taking due account of what level of transparency is meaningful for users and feasible for intermediaries.
IV. General observations and suggestions on the regulation proposed by the DSA
Principle-based regulation and initiative to protect user safety online with core principles of the e-Commerce Directive are welcome to our end. Yet, AmCham would note the need for more clearance in the way of DSA ruling, which is essential for legal certainty of market players. The scope of DSA shall be specified in a more explicit manner including the abbreviation of services it is applied to, market players it is applicable to and thereto respectively arising obligations.
On behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania