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Digital Services Act and Its Implications for US Law Firms

Digital Services Act and Its Implications for US Law Firms

Two years after American tech and e-commerce platforms contended with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — the EU’s revised data protection law — it’s time for businesses to adapt again. The newly introduced Digital Services Act (DSA), developed by the EU, aims to secure user data handling and seeks greater accountability from tech giants. But what is the Digital Services Act, and how might it impact US lawyers?

The Digital Services Act Explained

The Digital Services Act in the EU reportedly has two principal aims:

  1. To establish a more secure digital environment where the fundamental rights of all users are upheld and protected. 
  2. To ensure a balanced competitive landscape aimed at fostering innovation, growth, and competitiveness within not just the European Single Market but also on a global scale.

The EU Digital Service Act doesn’t redefine or classify online content as either legal or illegal. Instead, it ramps up the pressure on businesses and digital platforms to adhere more stringently to pre-existing legal norms. Therefore, like the GDPR, the DSA will affect EU companies and any global businesses interacting with EU clients online.

The European Digital Services Act’s Implications for US Lawyers Supporting US Businesses in the EU

  • Enhanced Monitoring of Web Content The DSA doesn’t create new norms but enforces stricter adherence to established standards. All companies — from individual websites to internet infrastructure services and online platforms — will need to scrutinize the content they publish and formulate procedures to oversee any content appearing on their platforms.

For instance, social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram will need to improve the regulation of content posted by their users. Even though Facebook’s users aren’t communicating on behalf of Facebook, their content is published on Facebook’s platform. This makes Facebook more accountable for monitoring and removing illegal content.

Professional insight: new responsibilities and obligations

A legal expert, Islam, stated: “New obligations require services to provide a better experience in handling content notice and takedown requests by third parties. This might affect how some clients manage this process, operationally or through their service. There are risks that their service could be liable if they host illegal content that they’re aware of.”

  • Increased Work, But No Definitive Conclusions The DSA will generate more work for lawyers and legal consultants. Any businesses that work with EU citizens must revamp their data handling, checking, and publishing practices on their platforms.

Islam told Loio: “As it stands, it’s unclear just how complex the obligations will be and whether clear guidance will be published to help non-EU companies. We’ll have to wait for the final text before it becomes law — none of this is set in stone just yet.”

  • No Need to Panic US businesses still recall the panic induced by the introduction of GDPR, and most know that it’s advantageous to start preparing early for such updates. The DSA, while still under discussion and yet to become law, will require companies to invest time and resources in thorough web content oversight.

Conclusion 

For lawyers, the need of the hour is staying up-to-date with the EU’s further handling of the DSA and advising their clients promptly and proactively regarding any significant changes. Ultimately, the DSA is not about altering the fundamentals of online legal content but rather about utilizing an additional tool to implement existing rules.

Article by Yevheniia Savchenko

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

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