United Nations: AI can pose risks to human rights and privacy

Cristina Cocito and Paul De Hert of Vrije Universiteit Brussel summarise the main points from the new UN report on AI and Privacy in the Digital Age.

On 26 September 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution 42/15 on “The right to privacy in the digital age”. This resolution mandated the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organise an expert group meeting to deliberate on how artificial intelligence (including profiling, automated decision-making, and machine-learning technologies) may, without adequate safeguards being in place, affect the right to privacy. The findings were to be presented in a thematic report to the Council at its 45th session. The thematic Right to privacy in the digital Age Report (Report) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, released on 15 September 2021 (A/HRC/48/31), builds on the 2014 report by the High Commissioner on the right to privacy in the digital age (A/HRC/27/37) and on the presentations and discussions at an expert workshop that took place in Geneva in February 2018. The new report puts the spotlight on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular machine-learning technologies.

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