In the end of May this year, IMCO Committee of the European Parliament introduced a set of amending proposals concerning the prepared Digital Services Act (DSA); the draft Act was introduced by the European Commission in December 2020. Although the company Seznam.cz supports evolution of the current legal framework through the introduced legislative draft DSA, it submitted, together with other online search engine operators, several critical comments on the last proposed adjustments.
Seznam refuses the fact that full text online search engines should be classified as general services of online platforms and would be considered entities hosting the content. In such case, they would have to comply with all obligations incorporated in the Digital Services Act which apply to platforms really hosting the content. It concerns, for example, the obligation to report automatically illegal content to responsible authorities, the so-called principle “know your business customer” and many others.
In the common open letter, the companies appeal to the European Parliament to take account of the fact that online search engines only show the content displayed on other websites and therefore inclusion of search engines within the scope of the Digital Services Act would have a sense only in the case that they would be acknowledged as the so-called caching type services. DSA applies also a number of obligations to such services, however in fact only obligations which may be requested from online search engines in view of the nature of operation of their services. Otherwise the search engines would be responsible for the entire online content, regardless of wherever hosted, just because they search in the entire internet.