Towards a fair data economy? The digital services act

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
In 2020, the European Commission introduced the Digital Services Act (DSA) with the aim of establishing a comprehensive and harmonized legal framework for digital services across the European Union. The legislation seeks to enhance consumer and user protection, ensure a level playing field for businesses of all sizes, and address societal concerns emerging from the digital transformation. This thesis investigates the impacts of the DSA on the European data economy, focusing on its effects on individuals, businesses, and society. Particular emphasis is placed on analyzing whether the DSA brings the European data economy closer to being fair for its participants. A qualitative and theoretical approach was chosen for this study, as empirical data is limited due to the DSA's early stage of implementation. Methods utilized in the analysis of the DSA include establishing a conceptual framework for a fair data economy and assessing the DSA through this framework. The findings of the study suggest that the DSA does make the European data economy slightly fairer, with individuals in particular likely to feel empowered by the implementation of the regulation, as it strengthens their rights concerning data privacy and control of their data. However, businesses, especially SMEs could struggle to comply with all the new obligations of the DSA, and it can be recommended that societies find ways to support them in the process.
Thesis advisor
Rossi, Matti
data economy, the digital services act, fair data economy, digital services
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