European Parliament vote on the Digital Services Act supports a free, non-commercial internet
The Wikimedia Foundation welcomes the results of an important vote by the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee on key provisions of the Digital Services Act (DSA). With the December 13th vote, European lawmakers have sent a clear signal of their intent to enact internet regulations that protect people’s right to to participate freely in the sharing of knowledge.
We have been actively engaged in the debates around the Digital Services Act that have led up to today’s vote by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). We have worked closely with members of the Wikimedia community in the European Union to ensure lawmakers and governments understand how appropriate internet regulation can protect public interest platforms like Wikipedia. Our main concerns, since the publication of the original proposal for the DSA in 2020, have been with rules that would disempower the volunteer communities that maintain and contribute to open knowledge projects by forcing platform operators to impose centralized control over content and governance. It is crucial that lawmakers avoid enacting laws that are primarily intended to address the problems caused by the business models of the world’s largest commercial tech platforms; such policy can also inflict unintended consequences upon non-commercial platforms and the online communities that they serve. Europe’s elected representatives should instead adopt policies that promote and protect online civic spaces and participation in digital society, which includes collaborative decision-making about content and architectures of the internet.
Written by Jan Gerlach, Director of Public Policy, Wikimedia Foundation