The digital revolution and the massive adoption of digital services has highlighted the need to adapt regulatory frameworks and public policies to today’s society. This modernization must put people at the centre of the digital transformation. It must also prioritize a green transition to achieve a more sustainable and efficient economy and society.
While technological development brings with significant challenges for the economy, democracy and society that need to be properly addressed, digitalisation has a key role to play in achieving societies’ development goals in the coming years. Digital markets require a level playing field for all actors in the Internet value chain. Equal opportunities for all players must be promoted and users must be assured the same level of protection. The same services must be governed by the same rules, their providers must comply with the same obligations and users must enjoy the same protection, regardless of the underlying technologies.
In this new digital ecosystem, converging in technologies and services that transcend state borders, businesses must be competitive, not only at national level, but also at global level. This requires a holistic approach to market definition and analysis. Regulatory and competition policies must adapt quickly to changing competitive dynamics to avoid inhibiting new business models and imbalances with already regulated market players.
In turn, they should ensure sustainability of investment, innovation, fair competition and balanced protection of users’ rights. Aware of the current market failures exercised by dominant platforms and the need to redefine the responsibility of internet players, the European Commission published the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) at the end of 2020.
Telefónica considers it necessary to establish an ex-ante regulatory framework for the digital sector, imposing ad-hoc remedies for those platforms that enjoy a dominant position and prevent effective competition in a given market. The telecommunications regulatory framework is a good precedent that could provide the structure and inspiration for the regulation of digital markets.
Similarly, the emergence of new digital services and platforms in recent years makes it urgent to update the legal framework on the liability of online intermediaries. Defining a clear framework of responsibilities and obligations for these actors is essential to safeguard the security of users and the protection of fundamental rights.