EEA EFTA States highlight how the Digital Services Act can contribute to a safer online environment

Published 29-09-2021

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have submitted a joint EEA EFTA Comment on the legislative proposal for a Digital Services Act (DSA) which is a centrepiece of the EU’s digital strategy. The DSA will set new rules for how content and products are made available on online platforms, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Amazon and[1]. The DSA will affect services which millions of citizens in the EEA use every day.

The EEA EFTA States welcome a modernisation of the current legal framework for digital services based on the e-Commerce Directive from 2000, given technological developments and the impact online platforms have on today’s economy, society and democracy. They share the key objectives of the DSA proposal which are to establish more effective mechanisms to remove illegal content, such as hate speech and child sexual abuse material online and prevent dangerous goods and illegal products from being marketed and sold on the internet.

However, while promoting a safer online environment for citizens and consumers is essential, the EEA EFTA States emphasise that it is important to uphold the right balance between the exercise of freedom of expression and removal of content online. Therefore, the EEA EFTA States believe that safeguarding the main principles of the e-Commerce Directive, such as the conditional liability exemption for online intermediaries and the prohibition of general monitoring, remain essential to facilitate digital trade while protecting fundamental rights online.

In the Comment, the EEA EFTA States agree with an asymmetric approach to new due diligence obligations in the DSA proposal but emphasise that there is a need to clarify the relationship between some of these obligations and the current limited liability regime under the e-Commerce Directive.

With regard to targeted advertising, the EEA EFTA States would be in favour of additional safeguards regarding the use of recommender systems and profiling of consumers and micro-targeted advertising, in particular when directed at minors and vulnerable groups.

Furthermore, with regard to online marketplaces, the EEA EFTA States believe that the DSA should not only establish more responsibility but also ensure effective implementation and enforcement of relevant consumer protection rules and enable innovative enterprises to offer new services.

The EEA EFTA States believe that the DSA should include an explicit safeguard to ensure that intermediary services may not, with reference to their terms and conditions, interfere with editorial content and services made available by editorial media. This safeguard should apply to all editorial media which bears editorial responsibility and complies with regulation consistent with EEA and national law.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is one of two proposals of the Digital Services Act package which the Commission presented to the European Parliament and the European Council on 15 December 2020. The second proposal in the package is the Digital Markets Act (DMA) presented on the same day.

Read the full text of the EEA EFTA Comment here.

A full list of EEA EFTA Comments is available here.

[1] All references to companies are meant for illustration purposes only.


Senior Officer
Internal Market Division

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