Preamble 141-150, Digital Services Act (DSA)
(141) The Commission should be able to request information necessary for the purpose of ensuring the effective implementation of and compliance with the obligations laid down in this Regulation, throughout the Union. In particular, the Commission should have access to any relevant documents, data and information necessary to open and conduct investigations and to monitor the compliance with the relevant obligations laid down in this Regulation, irrespective of who possesses the documents, data or information in question, and regardless of their form or format, their storage medium, or the precise place where they are stored.
The Commission should be able to directly require by means of a duly substantiated request for information that the provider of the very large online platform or of the very large online search engine concerned as well as any other natural or legal persons acting for purposes related to their trade, business, craft or profession that may be reasonably aware of information relating to the suspected infringement or the infringement, as applicable, provide any relevant evidence, data and information.
In addition, the Commission should be able to request any relevant information from any public authority, body or agency within the Member State for the purpose of this Regulation. The Commission should be able to require access to, and explanations by means of exercise of investigatory powers, such as requests for information or interviews, relating to documents, data, information, data-bases and algorithms of relevant persons, and to interview, with their consent, any natural or legal persons who may be in possession of useful information and to record the statements made by any technical means.
The Commission should also be empowered to undertake such inspections as are necessary to enforce the relevant provisions of this Regulation. Those investigatory powers aim to complement the Commission’s possibility to ask Digital Services Coordinators and other Member States’ authorities for assistance, for instance by providing information or in the exercise of those powers.
(142) Interim measures can be an important tool to ensure that, while an investigation is ongoing, the infringement being investigated does not lead to the risk of serious damage for the recipients of the service. This tool is important to avoid developments that could be very difficult to reverse by a decision taken by the Commission at the end of the proceedings.
The Commission should therefore have the power to impose interim measures by decision in the context of proceedings opened in view of the possible adoption of a decision of non-compliance. This power should apply in cases where the Commission has made a prima facie finding of infringement of obligations under this Regulation by the provider of very large online platform or of very large online search engine.
A decision imposing interim measures should only apply for a specified period, either one ending with the conclusion of the proceedings by the Commission, or for a fixed period which can be renewed insofar as it is necessary and appropriate.
(143) The Commission should be able to take the necessary actions to monitor the effective implementation of and compliance with the obligations laid down in this Regulation. Such actions should include the ability to appoint independent external experts and auditors to assist the Commission in this process, including where applicable from competent authorities of the Member States, such as data or consumer protection authorities. When appointing auditors, the Commission should ensure sufficient rotation.
(144) Compliance with the relevant obligations imposed under this Regulation should be enforceable by means of fines and periodic penalty payments. To that end, appropriate levels of fines and periodic penalty payments should also be laid down for non-compliance with the obligations and breach of the procedural rules, subject to appropriate limitation periods in accordance with the principles of proportionality and ne bis in idem.
The Commission and the relevant national authorities should coordinate their enforcement efforts in order to ensure that those principles are respected. In particular, the Commission should take into account any fines and penalties imposed on the same legal person for the same facts through a final decision in proceedings relating to an infringement of other Union or national rules, so as to ensure that the overall fines and penalties imposed are proportionate and correspond to the seriousness of the infringements committed.
All decisions taken by the Commission under this Regulation are subject to review by the Court of Justice of the European Union in accordance with the TFEU. The Court of Justice of the European Union should have unlimited jurisdiction in respect of fines and penalty payments in accordance with Article 261 TFEU.
(145) Given the potential significant societal effects of an infringement of the additional obligations to manage systemic risks that solely apply to very large online platforms and very large online search engines and in order to address those public policy concerns, it is necessary to provide for a system of enhanced supervision of any action undertaken to effectively terminate and remedy infringements of this Regulation.
Therefore, once an infringement of one of the provisions of this Regulation that solely apply to very large online platforms or very large online search engines has been ascertained and, where necessary, sanctioned, the Commission should request the provider of such platform or of such search engine to draw a detailed action plan to remedy any effect of the infringement for the future and communicate such action plan within a timeline set by the Commission, to the Digital Services Coordinators, the Commission and the Board.
The Commission, taking into account the opinion of the Board, should establish whether the measures included in the action plan are sufficient to address the infringement, taking also into account whether adherence to relevant code of conduct is included among the measures proposed.
The Commission should also monitor any subsequent measure taken by the provider of a very large online platform or of a very large online search engine concerned as set out in its action plan, taking into account also an independent audit of the provider.
If following the implementation of the action plan the Commission still considers that the infringement has not been fully remedied, or if the action plan has not been provided or is not considered suitable, it should be able to use any investigative or enforcement powers pursuant to this Regulation, including the power to impose periodic penalty payments and initiating the procedure to disable access to the infringing service.
(146) The provider of the very large online platform or of the very large online search engine concerned and other persons subject to the exercise of the Commission’s powers whose interests may be affected by a decision should be given the opportunity of submitting their observations beforehand, and the decisions taken should be widely publicised.
While ensuring the rights of defence of the parties concerned, in particular, the right of access to the file, it is essential that confidential information be protected. Furthermore, while respecting the confidentiality of the information, the Commission should ensure that any information relied on for the purpose of its decision is disclosed to an extent that allows the addressee of the decision to understand the facts and considerations that led up to the decision.
(147) In order to safeguard the harmonised application and enforcement of this Regulation, it is important to ensure that national authorities, including national courts, have all necessary information to ensure that their decisions do not run counter to a decision adopted by the Commission under this Regulation. This is without prejudice to Article 267 TFEU.
(148) The effective enforcement and monitoring of this Regulation requires a seamless and real-time exchange of information among the Digital Services Coordinators, the Board and the Commission, based on the information flows and procedures set out in this Regulation. This may also warrant access to this system by other competent authorities, where appropriate.
At the same time, given that the information exchanged may be confidential or involving personal data, it should remain protected from unauthorised access, in accordance with the purposes for which the information has been gathered. For this reason, all communications between those authorities should take place on the basis of a reliable and secure information sharing system, whose details should be laid down in an implementing act. The information sharing system may be based on existing internal market tools, to the extent that they can meet the objectives of this Regulation in a cost-effective manner.
(149) Without prejudice to the rights of recipients of services to turn to a representative in accordance with the Directive (EU) 2020/1828 of the European Parliament and of the Council or to any other type of representation under national law, recipients of the services should also have the right to mandate a legal person or a public body to exercise their rights provided for in this Regulation. Such rights may include the rights related to the submission of notices, the challenging of the decisions taken by providers of intermediary services, and the lodging of complaints against the providers for infringing this Regulation.
Certain bodies, organisations and associations have particular expertise and competence in detecting and flagging erroneous or unjustified content moderation decisions, and their complaints on behalf of recipients of the service may have a positive impact on freedom of expression and of information in general, therefore, providers of online platforms should treat those complaints without undue delay.
(150) In the interest of effectiveness and efficiency, the Commission should carry out a general evaluation of this Regulation. In particular, that general evaluation should address, inter alia, the scope of the services covered by this Regulation, the interplay with other legal acts, the impact of this Regulation on the functioning of the internal market, in particular regarding digital services, the implementation of codes of conduct, the obligation to designate a legal representative established in the Union, the effect of the obligations on small and micro enterprises, the effectiveness of the supervision and enforcement mechanism and the impact on the right to freedom of expression and of information.
In addition, to avoid disproportionate burdens and ensure the continued effectiveness of this Regulation, the Commission should perform an evaluation of the impact of the obligations set out in this Regulation on small and medium-sized enterprises within three years from the start of its application and an evaluation on the scope of the services covered by this Regulation, particularly for very large online platforms and for very large online search engines, and the interplay with other legal acts within three years from its entry into force.
Note: This is the final text of the Digital Services Act. The full name is "Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act)".
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