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ICO Calls on Industry Experts to Help Shape AI Regulation

Ross Kelly


ICO Adtech Data Protection

Data protection regulations must evolve to match the rapid growth of artificial intelligence, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has invited comment from organisations and business leaders to help develop a new auditing framework for artificial intelligence (AI).

As AI continues to develop and rise in popularity, there is a growing need for stringent regulatory frameworks, the ICO said.

While the regulator acknowledges that a modern framework for this emerging technology is required, it also highlights the benefits and innovative use cases in which AI has demonstrated a positive impact on industry and individuals.

A host of areas throughout the global technology sector are being disrupted by AI, including financial services, healthcare and recruitment sectors. This rapid rise has led the ICO to identify this technology as one of its top three strategic priorities.

Commenting on the announcement, executive director for Technology Policy and Innovation at the ICO, Simon McDougall, said: “Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are starting to permeate many aspects of our lives. I see new and innovative uses of this technology every day: in health care, recruitment, commerce . . . the list goes on and on.

“We know the benefits that AI can bring to organisations and individuals. But there are risks too.”

McDougall added that with the implementation of GDPR in May 2018, the regulations’ fundamental principles must be applied to this technology due to the large volumes of data processed.

He said: “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect in May was a much-needed modernisation of data protection law.

“Its considerable focus on new technologies reflects the concerns of legislators here in the UK and throughout Europe about the personal and societal effect of powerful data processing technology like profiling and automated decision making.”

The move follows the appointment of the ICO’s first postdoctoral research fellow for AI in November 2018. Dr Reuben Binns leads a team tasked with developing the proposed AI framework.

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While McDougall said that framework is at “the very early stages of our thinking”, he urged experts from a host of backgrounds to help shape it moving forward.

“Whether you’re from the private, public or third sector, we want you to join our open discussion about the genuine challenges arising from the adoption of AI,” McDougall said. “This will ensure the published framework will be both conceptually sound and applicable to real-life situations.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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