The Centre for Democracy & Technology (CDT Europe) joins Access Now, Article 19, and 27 other global civil society organisations in a letter addressed to European Commissioner Theirry Breton urging him to respect procedural safeguards when enforcing the DSA. 

The letter is published in response to a series of letters the Commissioner addressed to X, Meta, TikTok, and YouTube regarding the spread of illegal content and disinformation in light of the escalating crisis in the Middle East. As outlined in the Declaration of Principles for Content and Platform Governance in Times of Crisis, CDT strongly supports stronger actions from platforms to protect human rights before, during, and after a crisis. In his letters, however, the Commissioner incorrectly and confusingly invokes obligations under DSA to make several demands from these online platforms to swiftly address this content, which are not in fact required by the law. 

Advocacy Director for Europe, Online Expression & Civic Space, Asha Allen commented: 

There are fundamental issues with the Commissioners’ letters. He creates a false equivalency between illegal content and disinformation, which is not the case under the DSA, and demands a 24-hour response to his letters, which is again not required by the law. 

The Commissioners’ highly politicised engagement risks pressuring online platforms to take actions in ways that are not guided by the law and may undermine human rights, which in this case disproportionately affects human rights defenders, advocates, and journalists. His actions further risk undermining the authority and independence of the Commission’s DSA Enforcement Team.”

CDT Europe and our civil society partners support the robust enforcement of the DSA, however, to prevent enforcement overreach and the potential violation of human rights, enforcement must respect all procedural safeguards and the rule of law. 

Read the full letter and list of signatories.

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