We give you influence
DSMA UnLimited is a fictional company that has a business model of selling the European Union Digital Service Act (DSA) and the Digital Market Act (DMA) regulations sentence by sentence. The company’s goal is to turn legislative data into financial assets while allowing companies and individuals to own the law and shape it to their advantage.
DMA and DSA are European Commission proposals recently approved by the European Parliament. They finally presented the first draft in 2020 with the aim and promise of re-writing the rules of the internet. The DMA targets so-called “gatekeepers,” big monopolies in digital environments, with a promise to make the competition more manageable for new and smaller platforms to enter the market. The DSA is primarily concerned with transparency and consumer protection. DMA and DSA replace GDPR and attempt to address the importance of digital data and completion issues more directly.
Though this sounds like an effective option, there is serious doubt about whether it would make the competition fair or not. Also, there are many implementation issues. There are numerous vague and unclear passages, so-called loopholes in the draft, that leave the door open for corporate stakeholders to water down the proposals. After the proposal, national governments immediately started to negotiate the draft, so it changed a lot. Also, lots of heavy lobbying contributes to the process.
Lobbying is a cultural technology intrinsic to any complex political organization – monarchies, oligarchies, and democracies. Brussels has 11,000 registered lobbyists, with a roughly similar number of unregistered ones. Lobbying is at the core of the European Union’s political process, and much money is being poured into it. While lobbying per se might be the only possibility to protect the legitimate interest of certain groups, its prevalence at the heart of European power and governance makes one question whether the core democratic principles of the Union are always followed. How to ensure these processes, affecting the lives of the almost 450 million EU inhabitants, are accounted for and duly monitored? We provide a cost-effective, innovative solution to make this process transparent and accessible for everyone.
Vo Ezn – Chief Infrastructure Officer (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Vo Ezn is a sound and infrastructure artist working on server-side tensions and introverted interfaces ] [ figuring out tools for-to knowledge-sharing / opting-out / autonomy ] [ –to-for-by-with on my own terms. ++ a member and sysadmin at feminist server collectives Anarchaserver and Systerserver, and Solisoft [radical technology collective and solidarity network in NL] +++ a radio-maker at WORM radio >> non-zero exit.
Katia Sophia Ditzler – Chief Relations Officer (Berlin, Germany)
Katia Sophia Ditzlern is a Russian-German Interdisciplinary Artist and Cultural Anthropologist. Her works combine text, sound, video, performance art, as well as digital media.
Funda Zeynep Aygüler – Chief Generative Officer (Weimar, Germany)
Funda Zeynep Aygüler is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Weimar. She has a background in architecture and graduated in Animation from Anadolu University, and is currently enrolled in the Media Art and Design MA programme at Bauhaus University, Weimar.
Guillaume Slizewicz – Chief Research Officer (Brussels, Belgium)
Guillaume Slizewicz is a designer living in Brussels, Belgium. He is a member of Tropozone, Algolit and Urban Species. He focuses on the surprise created by misused hardware systems, the poetry of algorithms and the contact points between technology and the environment.
Elena Falomo – Chief Mapping Officer (Berlin, Germany)
Elena Falomo is a designer interested in digital and ecological matters. In her investigations she welcomes complexity and ambiguity to design more equitable and participatory futures (and presents). Falomo is also a passionate educator teaching creative technologies and design in universities across Europe.
We wanted to playfully direct attention toward the issue of lobbying. Lobbying is the act of private interests influencing public policy and legislation. Some would call it bribing – but doing so legally. Often companies and corporations are the only entities that know the intricacies of their business. Therefore, their input in legislation is indispensable. Lobbying also gives NGOs and activists the possibility to influence legislation. However, the process is nonetheless intransparent: Brussels, where the most important EU decisions are being made, is a mecca for lobbyists. The city harbors 25,000 lobbyists, but by far, not all of them are registered. The financial resources at their disposal are estimated at a minimum of €3bn. Naturally, the institution of lobbying puts tremendous power into the hands of wealthy, privileged, or influential individuals and interest groups, which can be destructive to proper democratic processes. If you would like to learn more: we recommend starting with resources like Corporate Europe Observatory and their “Lobby Planet” guide.
One of the key themes addressed in CODE 2022 is lobbying, especially the kind of lobbying done by players in the big tech industry. According to an article by digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom, “75% of the European Commission’s discussions about the new big-tech rules are with industry lobbyists.” This was also apparent in the development of the digital markets act (DMA) and the digital services act (DSA). DSMA UnLtd. Is a project developed during CODE 2022 which comments on these issues, by presenting themselves as an organisation which offers changes to legislation for money. Through their project, the issue of big tech lobbyists becomes very apparent.