Dutch Deputy Prime Minister calls for regulation of digital services law against AirBnB – EURACTIV.com

In order to combat the negative side effects of the online short-term rental market, governments should be better allowed to access to data from platforms such as Airbnb under the EU’s digital services law, said Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren.

His statement came as the Dutch released a new position paper on the upcoming digital services law, noting that the online short-term rental market is expected to be subject to new rules due to the “negative impact. »Market on housing prices and social cohesion.

The EU Digital Services Act, introducing new general regulations in the platform economy, will cover areas of the field, including content moderation, data sharing, online self-preference activities and the functioning of algorithms. It is due to be presented by the Commission on December 2.

“To combat the side effects of ‘short-term vacation rentals’ on European cities and enforce legislation, we need better access to data from platforms such as Airbnb,” Ollongren said on Monday (November 9th).

Sharing data with governments

Specifically, the Dutch want new rules in the short-term rental market to force platforms like Airbnb to share their data with governments.

“Governments need better access to platform data in order to be able to effectively enforce (local) laws and regulations – in the most extensive case in the form of a data sharing obligation,” published the non-paper Monday (November 9).

“If necessary, new safeguards should be introduced to ensure access to data for governments,” the Dutch add, also specifically noting that an example of the type of data shared with governments could include the number of nights a supplier rented an apartment. .

In other areas of platform regulation in this area, the Dutch would like to see the Digital Services Act tackle illegal activities in the short-term rental market, such as the placement of ‘illegal’ advertisements . In order to increase legislative oversight in this area, “access to information” for governments on the types of advertising offered needs to be improved.

Generally speaking, the Dutch refer to the example of the rise of AirBnb in Amsterdam and how this has had wider damaging implications for the public interest.

“The number of residential spaces that were rented to tourists (on Airbnb) in Amsterdam at least once a year was over 21,000 in 2018, compared to over 19,000 in 2017.”

“This short-term large-scale vacation rental of residential spaces has been found to have negative effects on, among other things, the housing market, quality of life, social cohesion, safety and equality of chances for other providers of such housing. “

In response, Patrick Robinson, director of public policy for Europe at AirBnB noted that the Dutch have already put in place their own legislation to access the platform’s data.

“The Dutch government has already introduced national legislation that would give it access to this data, which Airbnb fully supports,” he said.

“We also support the work of the European Commission to update its rules. “

Blacklisted practices

The Dutch update on greater data sharing draws a parallel with recent efforts by the Commission to force platform giants to loosen their grip on user data, albeit sharing it with rivals, not necessarily with governments.

According to a draft blacklisted list of practices that was leaked earlier this year, platform giants would be banned from using the data they collect online, unless they make that data available for review. use by smaller platforms.

“Gatekeepers must not use the data generated and collected on the Platform or on any of the Gatekeepers’ other services for the purposes of their own business activities aimed at consumers of the relevant Platform, unless they do make this data accessible to business users (seeking to become) active in the same business activities, ”the document said, qualifying this specific policy as a“ ban on exclusive use of data ”.

Meanwhile, on tackling illegal online activity, EU Vice President for Digital Affairs Margrethe Vestager said a crackdown on the sale of counterfeit and illegal goods and services will be included in the policy. digital services law.

In order to combat this illicit trade, Vestager suggested that the identity of traders may need to be better verified online.

Platforms “need to better identify who is selling in their marketplaces,” Vestager said in July. “It is ridiculous that a trader who has been caught selling illegal products can disappear into thin air and register under a different name a few minutes later,” she added.

“Platforms must act much more rigorously against illegal products and services offered on their platforms,” she insisted.

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