The EU must hold VLOPs accountable

Access Now’s response to Commissioner Breton’s letter: Priorities and dialogue on DSA enforcement

Access Now’s response is below.

August 1, 2023

Dear Commissioner Thierry Breton, 

On behalf of all signatories to our open statement, I would like to thank you for your timely response that adequately addresses most of the concerns raised by the civil society coalition. 

On behalf of Access Now I would also like to request a meeting with you and your team about upcoming challenges and opportunities in the enforcement of the Digital Services Act (DSA). 

In particular, we welcome the reassurance that the DSA does not provide justification for the arbitrary blocking of online platforms. The provided guarantee that the DSA enforcement will always follow democratic processes, the rule of law, and prescribed due process safeguards is of utmost importance for effective fundamental rights protection in the EU and beyond. 

We appreciate the clarification that sanctions imposed on platforms in case of systemic non-compliance with their DSA obligations must be proportionate. Especially that a temporary suspension or restriction of access to the service should always be viewed as a last resort measure for the most far-reaching situations, such as direct threats to people’s life or safety. Emphasizing the instrumental role of independent judicial oversight in deciding whether last resort measures are necessary and justified, upholds the highest protective standards enshrined in jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It also sends a strong message to governments that regularly abuse such measures to suppress protests, opposing voices, and human rights activists.   

We look forward to your continuous support in ensuring consistency in the European Union’s approach to content governance and platform accountability represented by the DSA framework. 

Best regards, 

Access Now