Data Regulators Focus on Artificial Intelligence and Data Ethics at Annual International Meeting in Brussels
Achieved Compliance attended the 40th Annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners which convened this year in Brussels. This meeting is the largest and most significant gathering of data protection authorities in the world. It provides an important window on the status of data protection law and regulation, the impact of new technology on privacy and what is top of mind for regulators.
While companies continue to grapple with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May of this year, the law did not take center stage at the annual meeting of regulators. Instead, the focus of this year’s conference was artificial intelligence (AI), its promise and the risks it raises not only for privacy but for human rights – including our concepts of fairness, autonomy and transparency. Discussion centered on the challenges inherent in understanding and communicating how AI works, the risk of introducing bias in AI processing, and the urgent need for a privacy-by-design approach to AI that would entail considering and building in privacy protections across the development cycle.
It is important to note the significant shift in the discussion from simple data protection to a focus on ethics, signaling an understanding of the complexity of the issues AI raises, and its impact on issues that extend beyond traditional notions of privacy. Speakers highlighted ongoing work on frameworks that introduce ethical considerations into privacy governance.
At the close of the conference, authorities released a Declaration on Ethics and Protection in Artificial Intelligence that focused on fairness, transparency and key privacy principles. This Declaration called for the establishment of international common governance principles on AI in line with these concepts. As an initial step toward that goal, the Conference announced a permanent working group on Ethics and Data Protection in Artificial Intelligence.
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