EU to get tougher on fake and illegal goods sold online 

According to the EU’s Vice-President for Digital Affairs, Margrethe Vestager, the EU plans to crackdown on the sale of illegal and counterfeit goods as part of the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA).

The act is part of plans to regulate online activity in an assortment of areas, such as political advertising, hate speech, and e-commerce.

This announcement comes at the same time as the amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which targets video content on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. 

Even though the e-Commerce Directive, which was introduced in 2000, has regulated some digital services in the EU, many online businesses are struggling due to increased competition.

Large platforms are able to monopolize the digital economy easily due to their access to large amounts of data and lack of regulation, and consumers are unsure how to stay safe. 

Therefore, the EU plans to introduce this new framework to allow new businesses to grow, protect shoppers, and provide a modern solution to online concerns. 

The Digital Services Act is a highly ambitious scheme. Part of the reforms include getting much stricter on the sale of counterfeit and illicit goods sold online. In addition, there are plans for new obligations for platforms, like identifying, verifying, and monitoring sellers. 

The finalized version is due to be presented by the end of this year. It covers six areas: online safety, liability, online advertising, online self-employment, governance framework of online services, and market dominance rules. 

In a statement, Vestager said the European Commission hopes online shopping can have the same standards as the physical world and that “we can trust the people with whom we shop, that the products are safe and that there are no counterfeits.”

She added that platforms “need to be better at identifying those who are selling on their marketplace. It is ridiculous that a trader that has been caught selling illegal products can disappear into thin air and sign up under a different name just a few minutes later.”

“Platforms need to act much more rigorously against illegal products and services offered on their platforms.”

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