Data reform: Unlocking AI to boost innovation across industry

Proposed potential reforms include introducing further clarity on how the UK GDPR’s fairness obligation would be applied in this context. By Alexander Dittel of Wedlake Bell LLP.

Article 22(1) regulates automated decision-making (ADM) which is often integral to artificial intelligence (AI) systems. AI is deployed to assist a human decisionmaker or to make decisions automatically. Article 22 only regulates the second scenario which is said to cause confusion and the UK Government proposed removing it. In response, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is suggesting to expand Article 22 to all ADM.(2)

This is unsurprising. Article 22 is the only explicit legal rule about ADM and an important building block for future AI-related jurisprudence. It guarantees transparency and human intervention designed to protect humans against the “negative, even catastrophic, effects” of AI on human rights, as highlighted in the UN High Commissioner’s recent report.(3) In contrast, whilst appreciating the risks of AI, the Government’s “pro-growth and innovation-friendly” data protection reform is intended to pave the UK’s path to becoming a global AI superpower.(4) However, any reduction in data protection could affect the UK’s adequacy status with the European Union (EU).

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