Charlotte de Dreuzy (VP Legal and Public Affairs at ManoMano, the French DIY marketplace unicorn) is a former lawyer specialising in digital law. For La Lettre du DPO, she goes back in detail over her career and provides her vision on the challenges of the Digital Services Act (“DSA”) for players in the digital economy.
What is your background and what led you to take an interest in digital law and personal data?
“I have a Master’s degree in general private law from the University of Nanterre (option: literary and artistic property and media law), as well as in media management from Sciences Po Rennes. I started my career in press law by doing various internships in a firm specialised in this field, and in the print media department of Lagardère Active. At the end of the internship, I was hired as a lawyer, keen to work on legal matters related to print media. In parallel with my professional activities, I was called to the Bar in 2011. The opportunity arose (also the necessity – due to the decline of print media) for me to turn to digital law by moving to a new position at Lagardère, involving the management of all the pure players that had been bought by the group, in particular platforms such as billetreduc.com, comparison sites and content provider sites such as doctissimo.com. It was in this context that I began to develop a solid expertise in digital law, with in-depth knowledge of the world of start-ups. At the time, I also managed legal issues for a platform of the Lagardère group selling medicinal products, before joining a niche firm in eHealth law. Within that firm, from 2013 to 2016, I was in charge of consumer/competition law, IP/IT and data protection issues. I later joined the IP/IT department of KGA Avocats, and then a niche IT firm. During that period, the implementation of the GDPR for clients occupied most of my time. In parallel, I had a personal clientele consisting mainly of intermediation platforms. So I have really worked in the world of platforms throughout my professional life. In March 2018, I joined ManoMano as a legal manager, initially to deal with GDPR compliance.”
What are your responsibilities and the tasks you carry out, in particular at the moment?
“I am VP Legal and Public Affairs at ManoMano, a French platform created in 2013 which has a marketplace activity specialised in interior and exterior home furnishing (with both a B2B and a B2C marketplace). Today, the platform has 5 000 suppliers and 7 000 000 active customers. ManoMano is present in Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. When I arrived in 2018, there was neither a legal department nor a public affairs department. So I created them both. I currently manage a team of 12 lawyers who deal with all subjects (corporate, real estate, insurance, IP/IT, compliance), except employment law which is managed by the HR department. I also have a person under my responsibility who deals with issues related to public affairs. I was DPO for a long time before handing over the position to a member of my team who has followed personal data issues with me since the beginning. There is also a tech DPO who works with the tech and security team. We therefore work in tandem on personal data issues. Generally speaking, our activity is quite dense because we are constantly growing and developing new services. This year, our attention is focused on the deployment of new regulations that have a strong impact on marketplaces, including, of course, the DSA, which will involve the mobilisation of all our teams, the general product safety regulation and the loi AGEC (anti-gaspillage pour une économie circulaire) (anti-waste and circular economy law), the implementation of which we have already begun.”
What is your vision on the future of digital law and the players in the digital economy?
“The marketplace activity is starting to become a regulated activity. In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of texts aimed at further regulating the activity of platforms. In this respect, the so-called “Platform to Business” regulation, which came into force on 12 July 2020, regulates the relationship between marketplaces and sellers. There is now the DSA, which clarifies the liability regime without overhauling it. The DSA nevertheless creates new obligations for marketplaces. This desire for regulation is to be welcomed, provided however that the resulting obligations for the players concerned remain proportionate. It is indeed very complicated for emerging players to find the right balance between growth and compliance. This is even more true in the sluggish economic context from which tech companies are suffering. Companies are always keen to comply with the relevant regulations, but this requires significant financial and technological investment, and human resources. In some ways, the larger players have a competitive advantage, as, for them, the investment required may appear to be of lesser importance. They can also anticipate and benefit from the services of consultants and lobbyists well in advance of the actual application of the texts. The key point is that there should be real vigilance on the proportionality of obligations. If we take the example of the DSA, the status of “very large platforms” has been created, implying increased obligations (particularly in terms of reporting and auditing), which is a laudable intention. However, the law remains unclear on the calculation method to be used to define the threshold at which a platform should be considered as being very large. To end on a positive note, I think that what is useful and relevant in the DSA is the incentive for marketplaces to develop proactive measures to combat the presence of counterfeit, illicit and dangerous products, while maintaining the regime of limited responsibility. This is a good way to encourage them to do so.“