The Digital Services Act

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 or DSA) aims to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market for intermediary services by setting out harmonised rules for a safe, predictable and trusted online environment that facilitates innovation and in which fundamental rights, including the principle of consumer protection, are effectively protected.

The DSA imposes a set of obligations on providers of intermediary services, such as mere conduit, caching and hosting services, including online platforms and search engines.

Very Large Online Platforms (VLOP) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSE) are subject to additional obligations related to systemic risk management, in particular, as regards the dissemination of illegal content, negative effects on the exercise of fundamental rights, on civic discourse and electoral processes, on public security and in relation to gender-based violence, the protection of public health and minors, and the serious negative consequences for people's physical and mental health.

With the entry into force of the DSA, online platforms will have to be more transparent and take a more active role in combating the spread of illegal content.

Compliance with the DSA is enforced by the competent authorities designated by each Member State of the European Union (EU), including a Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) in each state, responsible for ensuring consistent application of the regulation at a national level.

In Portugal, ANACOM was designated as Digital Services Coordinator (in Portuguese), and the following organisations were initially designated as competent authorities within the scope of the DSA: ERC - Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social (Media Regulatory Authority) in matters of social communication and other media content, and IGAC - Inspeção-Geral das Atividades Culturais (General Inspection of Cultural Activities) in matters of copyright and related rights.

At a national level, a working group (in Portuguese) was also set up, coordinated by ANACOM and made up of representatives from 32 relevant public organisations. This working group is responsible for presenting legislative proposals to the Government for the effective and efficient implementation of the DSA in Portugal and for identifying other competent authorities for the purposes of the Digital Services Act. On April 30, the working group sent the Government the final report, as provided for in paragraph 8 of Order no. 1747 of 15 February, which includes the proposal for legislation to be adopted by the Portuguese State in order to implement the Digital Services Act.

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