PANEL: The DSA, its future enforcement and the protection of fundamental rights

The Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal currently under discussion aims at providing a harmonized regulatory framework for addressing online harms, while at the same time creating accountability for service providers and protecting users’ fundamental rights.

A specific set of challenges – in the DSA proposal as well as in other initiatives relating to the regulation of platforms – concerns the effective enforcement of forthcoming and existing rules, and, more in general, the capability of such rules to meaningfully protect fundamental rights. The experience with the enforcement of GDPR, marked by major stalemates and shortcomings, is exerting a significant influence in the DSA negotiations, where the idea of centralized enforcement for dominant platforms, and of increased cooperation among national authorities, is gaining political support in the legislative process. The individual and societal harms stemming from the platforms’ adtech-centred business model have taken centre stage in the DSA debate. However, more radical substantial restrictions on surveillance-based ads are at this point not expected to make it to the final text. In any case, in light of the DSA’s stated goals, these questions remain absolutely relevant and urgent: can the DSA provisions (particularly the systemic risks management mechanism), where properly enforced, effectively address the mass-scale and systemic violations of fundamental rights occurring as a result of business model choices?

This session will focus on a set of questions related to how the DSA can be expected to have an impact, in particular given its enforcement in practice:

  • Does the enforcement structure provided for by the DSA proposal(s) have the potential to ensure adequate protection of fundamental rights and other democratic values?
  • What are the potential challenges we can identify and anticipate with respect to the meaningful implementation and enforcement of these provisions?
  • Can the DSA’s enforcement chapter prevent the reoccurrence of some of the biggest failures seen in the enforcement of GDPR (for example with regard to the systemic violations and harms, on an individual and societal level, brought about by the ad-tech industry)?

  • Moderators: Joris van Hoboken, Associate Professor – Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam – Vrije Universiteit Brussels & Ilaria Buri, Researcher, University of Amsterdam – Institute for Information Law (IViR) – DSA Observatory


  • Jana Gooth, Legal Policy Advisor, European Parliament – Assistant to MEP Alexandra Geese
  • Paul Nemitz, Principal Advisor, European Commission – DG Justice
  • Eliska Pirkova, Europe Policy Analyst and Global Freedom of Expression Lead, Access Now
  • Eliot Bendinelli, Senior Technologist, Privacy International

Check out the full programme here.

Registrations are open until 24 January, 2022 here.