Legislative work on implementing the EU Digital Services Act has already begun in Poland
On October 19, 2022, one of the most important pieces of Internet legislation in the last two decades, the Digital Services Act, was passed. The DSA went into effect on November 16, 2022. The vast majority of its provisions will be effective as of February 17, 2024 (Article 93(2)). The implementation of the DSA will require European Union countries to enact legislation that defines the competencies of bodies that act as Digital Services Coordinators, responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the DSA (Article 49).
Electronic services – current legal status in Poland
At the moment in Poland, online activities are primarily regulated by the Law on Provision of Electronic Services, which implements Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce, with two differences, described below.
First, Directive 2000/31/EC on online contracting has been implemented separately in the Civil Code.
Second, some of the provisions in Directive 2002/58/EC (ePrivacy Directive) were separately adopted in the Law on Provision of Electronic Services, particularly with regard to restrictions on the installation of cookies (Article 6) and the prohibition of spamming (Article 10).
What distinguishes Poland from other countries is the absence in currently applicable law of a regulator responsible for overseeing compliance with the Law on Provision of Electronic Services. This is expected to change once the Digital Services Act takes effect.
Implementation of the Digital Services Act – planned activities
According to the Digital Services Act, it is structurally possible for the function of the Digital Services Coordinator to be performed by several bodies, dividing tasks among themselves, but in any case one body must be designated as acting as the digital services (Article 49(2)). In practice, a new body may be established or the powers of existing bodies may be expanded.
In October 2022, a meeting was held between representatives of the Internet sector and the Polish government. At the meeting, the Polish government mentioned two important issues:
- the powers of the authority, acting as coordinator, will be defined in a separate law,
- the Polish government is likely to opt for the model of expanding the existing powers of the existing body rather than creating a new body,
- it has not yet been decided which of the existing bodies is to act as the digital services coordinator. Consideration is being given to assigning these functions to the Electronic Communications Office or the Unfair Competition Office.
The proposal, defining the competencies of the Polish body acting as a coordinator for digital services, is expected to be presented at the beginning of 2023.