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Brainbox, GNI and DTSP facilitate workshops for risk assessment under Europe's Digital Services Act

Today, Brainbox is proud to share the outputs of collaborative work with the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and the Digital Trust and Safety Partnership (DTSP), two organisations that incorporate the world’s largest tech companies and a diverse, global, and a long-standing network of civil society organisations. You can access the relevant workshop materials on the websites for GNI (here) and DTSP (here).

Brainbox is privileged to be able to support and lead various trusted multi-stakeholder discussions among companies, civil society organisations, audit firms, and government bodies through the Action Coalition on Meaningful Transparency, and this work with GNI and DTSP had a similar character. On 24 and 25 May, we facilitated workshops with approximately 80 total participants from the world’s largest tech companies, as well as academics and influential global civil society organisations, to discuss how systemic risk assessments ought to be conducted under the European Union’s recently implemented Digital Services Act (DSA).

The DSA governs the provision of services by internet companies to users in the European Union, and includes enhanced obligations on platforms and search engines with more than 45 million EU users. One of the core obligations imposed on these very large providers is a requirement to assess their systems for “systemic risk”, which must be published and independently audited by professional audit firms.

The August deadline for the first risk assessments is rapidly approaching, but significant uncertainty remains around how the assessments can and should be conducted. As a result, engagements in trusted forums are essential for promoting mutual understanding and best practice. Ultimately, all stakeholder groups have an interest in effective public policy that actually works, and a shared process of insight and understanding. In practice, an industry around trust and safety, human rights risk assessment and independent audit for digital platforms is now springing into existence, which is generating conversations that are both fascinating and multidisciplinary in nature.

Brainbox played a substantial role in designing, organising and facilitating the workshops, and it was a privilege to work alongside the fantastic teams at GNI and DTSP. We also created and distributed a reference material document, a pre-event survey, and a document summarising key insights from the discussion. These resources are now publicly available, and we hope they offer valuable insights to a range of stakeholders globally, as everyone comes to grips with how the DSA will be implemented, its global ripple effects, and inevitable emulation in other jurisdictions (including New Zealand).

We welcome any inquiries related to this work and related subject matter. We will also be looking to bring our experience and insights on this and similar work to domestic conversations on platform regulation.

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