[Brussels, Belgium – 5 July 2022] - IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) welcomes the European Parliament’s adoption of legislation which, from today, will make online wildlife trafficking more difficult.
The parliament’s adoption of the Digital Services Act (DSA) comes after more than one year of intense negotiations with the Commission and the Council.
The DSA is an innovative legislation which defines responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services, and in particular online platforms, such as social media and marketplaces, to ensure that “what is illegal offline is illegal online”, including wildlife trafficking.
“This legislation is a good step in the right direction, as it introduces new transparency requirements for companies that will make the detection of illegal wildlife products and law enforcement easier,” said Staci McLennan, IFAW’s EU Office Director. “IFAW is pleased to see that the DSA incorporates our call to include the illegal trade of animals in the definition of illegal content and in the list of systemic risks associated with the dissemination of illegal content.”
It is essential today that tech companies and national authorities take charge in detecting and disrupting online wildlife criminals, as the world’s most endangered species are under threat from the online trade.
Dissuasive penalties have been foreseen if the DSA provisions are not respected with online platforms and search engines facing fines of up to 6% of their worldwide turnover.
However, the adopted DSA also includes dangerous and unjustified exemptions for small and medium-size platforms that lower its effectiveness and introduce loopholes. IFAW calls on the Commission to promptly encourage and facilitate the drafting of an EU code of conduct to tackle wildlife cybercrime in all platforms.
The effective implementation and enforcement of the DSA will need to overcome several challenges, including the prompt deployment of the resources needed by the European Commission to effectively monitor the large platforms’ implementation. However, by taking a systemic approach to tackling illegal online trade, the DSA could significantly help in protecting wildlife in the digital age.
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About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare): IFAW is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.
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