You are currently viewing Digital curfew: a key measure of the Digital Services Act (DSA) to protect online users

Our daily lives are increasingly linked with the connected world, and online platforms are getting more and more present in our daily lives.  It is therefore crucial to guarantee the security and protection of users, from the least to the most experienced. This is why the Digital Services Act (DSA), a legislative proposal from the European Union, proposes the introduction of a digital curfew. This measure is a time restriction that limits access to specific online content during certain hours of the day. The aim is to protect users, particularly minors, from inappropriate content such as violence, pornography, harassment or hate speech.

The Digital Services Act seeks to modernize the legal framework governing digital services. Its aim is to strengthen the accountability of online platforms, improve the transparency of business practices and, as previously stated, protect users from illegal or harmful content.

How will the curfew be implemented? 

The digital curfew will be implemented by the online platforms themselves. They will have to adopt technical measures to restrict access to certain content during specified hours. Platforms will be responsible of defining the criteria for determining which content will be affected by the curfew, and for setting up reporting mechanisms for users. Users will still be able to access other platform content and features during these hours, but some content will be temporarily unavailable. It should be pointed out, however, that the digital curfew is not intended to censor or restrict freedom of expression, but rather to protect users from harmful content.

What are the benefits ? 

Digital curfews offer a number of potential benefits. Protecting underage users from inappropriate or dangerous content by limiting the risk of exposure helps to prevent adverse effects on users’ mental health and well-being. Furthermore, this measure also enables the authorities to closely monitor online activities during these specific periods. This gives them the opportunity to quickly detect any suspicious activities and take action to counter potential threats. Finally, the DSA’s curfew also aims to raise users’ awareness of the risks associated with digital security. By limiting their access to certain online activities, users are encouraged to adopt stricter security practices and become more aware of potential dangers.

On the other hand, a digital curfew is not a simple measure to implement. It raises a number of challenges. It can be difficult to define what content should be included in the curfew, and to strike a balance between user protection and freedom of expression. Indeed, some users may feel restricted in their online activities during curfew periods. Feeling restricted could be perceived as an infringement of freedom of expression and privacy. In the same way, it is essential to ensure that platforms adopt effective technical measures to implement the curfew. The aim is to avoid errors when it comes to the filtering and censorship of the content. 

How can people comply with the DSA curfew? 

To comply with the DSA curfew, it is advisable to regularly consult the information provided by the relevant authorities to stay on top of the rules in place and possible updates.

It is important to keep in mind that it’s likely that some people will find ways around the restrictions, which may make this measure less effective, or even obsolete. 

Beyond the matter of the curfew, it’s important to take steps to reinforce people’s own digital security, even outside curfew periods. This personal protection can take the form of using strong passwords, installing security software and raising awareness of the risks involved. It is essential to comply with these restrictions in order to exploit the digital world in the best possible way. 


M2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2023/2024


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