Digital Services Act Event

Together with various stakeholders of the Digital Services Act, George participated in the European Commission’s Digital Services Act Stakeholder Event.

The first ever Digital Services Act Stakeholder on 27 June 2023 event is a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to engage with the European Commission and contribute their insights for the implementation of the DSA. Connect with platform representatives, policymakers, and industry experts as we shape the future of digital services.

European Commission

After receiving an invitation to participate, George immediatley accepted and started preparing their key points to highlight whilst on the panel.

26th June

On the 26th of June, George left MLA (Malta International Airport) and caught a connecting flight to BRU (Brussels International Airport) via MUC (Munich Airport). When arriving in Brussels, they were driven to their hotel, NH Collection Brussels Grand Sablon.

When arriving at the hotel, they put their stuff down, and left their hotel to walk around Brussels. After eating dinner, they returned to their hotel, prepared their speech for the following day’s panel, and went to sleep.

27th June

George woke up early for breakfast, and after that went out of the hotel to walk around Brussels again. They went to tour the Parlamentarium, the European Parliament’s interactive museum. Something that struck them was how technologically advanced the museum was, and how it was accessible in all 24 EU official languages, including Maltese.

After they went to the Parlamentarium, they walked around Brussels and visited buildings they’ve seen countless times online. They walked to the European Commission’s building and to Dar Malta.

When the time has arrived, they went to The Square to prepare for their contribution in the Panel discussion. The Panel they participated in was a lunch workshop and was titled “Keeping Children Safe Online“. When the Panel started, George went up on stage with the other participants of the Panel and sat down.

Their first intervention was focused about the DSA will affect not just them, but European teenagers and every European citizen. They compared the DSA to the GDPR, and mentioned that it is yet another example of the EU standing up to Big Tech. They also mentioned the postive reactions TLDR News and Linus Media Group had to the laws, even as non-Europeans. Another highlight was how the DSA distinguishes between Very Large Online Platforms and Startups, which helps the EU even further when creating new online experiences (such as French BeReal.). Yet another point was the fact that the DSA will bring positive changes not just in large metropolitan cities, but also in small towns, such as their hometown. Finally they mentioned how Big Tech collects a bunch of data, and usually people notice after a data breach takes place. They ended their intervention by sharing their hope that the EU keeps improving our everyday lives.

Their second intervention was focused on the actions they expect the industry to take. They highlighted Age-Verification, as unfortunately it can be very easily abused, and mentioned the irony in having strict anti-smoking/anti-vaping laws, when online services offering content just as bad are currently unregulated. Another point they brought up was having Terms of Service which are easy to read, rather than filled with legal jargon.

Their closing statement consisted of how they expect the DSA to work. They mentioned how that in their opinion, a clear way to see the law working is if foriegn companies prefer to restrict access to the EU Single Market (as is already the case with some non-GPPR-compliant US websites) rather than following our laws.

After they finished George went down and stayed to listen to the following panel, and after that a group photo was taken. George discussed the panel and its contents with multiple people, including social media representatives, academics and NGOs.

28th June

The day after George woke up early one again, and after breakfast went to take a walk around Brussels one last time before leaving. They visited an Apple store, and relaxed in a park. After that they returned to the hotel, where a taxi was waiting to take them to BRU (Brussels International Airport).

George left BRU (Brussels International Airport) and caught a connecting flight to MLA (Malta International Airport) via ZRH (Zurich International Airport). After 3 hectic days they returned to their everyday life, but with a large appreciation to EU laws that protect us and with a new look regarding digital services.

They were featured on various media outlets, such as the Better Internet for Kids website.

George and the rest of the panelists on the panel regarding children’s online safety
Group photo of those who participated in the Workshop
George speaking during the Panel
A group photo of George, Sabrina and Daria