The dissemination of EO data may also have to take into consideration a set of recent legislation on digital services, as EO services may involve the use of digital platforms and the provision of digital content.

In the EU, there are currently two proposals under discussion that shall be mentioned.

The first one is the proposal for Digital Services Act, which will partially replace the e-Commerce Directive. The Digital Services Act intends to harmonize intermediaries’ obligations and accountability according to their impact in the online ecosystem, establishing a set of very demanding obligations such as the implementation of notice and action mechanisms, complaint-handling systems, traceability of traders trading in the online platform and transparency obligations. Very large online platforms are further subject to additional obligations. The European Parliament approved the text of the Act in January 2022, which introduced several changes to the Commission proposal and provisional political agreement between the Council and the European Parliament was reached on April 2022.

The proposal for the Digital Markets Act establishes competition law rules aiming to prevent core platform services (such as online intermediation services and cloud computing services), with significant impact and durable position on the market (gatekeepers), from imposing unfair conditions. It contains a set of obligations of the gatekeeper in relation to both business users and end users, for example, in relation to use of data, ranking of services and products, interoperability and portability of data, among others. Trilogue negotiations aiming to reach a compromise text began in January 2022, and political agreement was reached in March.

As both proposals bring about a substantial reform in the regulation of the digital environment, enhancing competition, innovation, safety and the protection of human rights in the digital space, as well as imposing a vast array of new obligations and a novel supervision framework, both Acts may impact EO systems and service providers, especially where such EO stakeholders provide hosting services and/or own online platforms.

In this respect, the provision of EO services in online platforms / marketplaces shall also take into consideration the Platform to Business Regulation, from 2019, which had also already established important rules applicable to online intermediation services in their relation with business users.

In addition, a brief reference to Directive 2019/770 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services, which establishes provisions for the protection of consumers acquiring digital content and services, which can naturally include EO data.

The dissemination of EO data may also benefit from the increasing virtualisation of assets through DLT / blockchain use – to the extent EO data is tokenised, its issuance and trading may end up subject to specific frameworks applicable to crypto-assets, such as the current EU proposal for a Regulation on Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA).