The Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data ("Convention 108"), has released Guidelines on Artificial Intelligence and Data

Protection, the aim of which is to provide a set of baseline measures in order to ensure that AI applications do not override human rights, especially personal data privacy rights.

Convention 108 is the first international agreement dealing with the collection and processing of personal data, and as of now, has been ratified by 53 countries, including non-members of the Council of Europe. Convention 108 reflects new technologies and incorporates regulatory developments. Within the framework of this Convention, the Consultative Committee has released Guidelines on specific topics.

These Guidelines recognize the importance of AI technologies to society, whilst asserting that the right to protection of personal data is essential when developing or adopting AI applications, in particular when used in decision-making processes. In this regard, the development of AI technologies should be based on the principles of Convention 108+, considering certain principles, including fairness, purpose specification, proportionality of data-processing, privacy-by-design and by default, responsibility and demonstration of compliance (accountability), transparency, data security and risk management.

According to the Guidelines, AI developers, manufacturers and service providers should take a number of measures including:

  1. adopting a human rights by design approach and avoiding any potential biases;
  2. allow meaningful control by data subjects over the data processing and the related effects on individuals and on society;
  3. assessing the quality, nature, origin and amount of personal data which is used, and reducing unnecessary, redundant or marginal data, using synthetic data whenever possible;
  4. setting up consulting independent committees of experts to contribute in order to detect potential bias; and
  5. ensuring that individuals have the right to object when technology might influence opinion or personal development.

The Guidelines also contain specific recommendations for policymakers and legislators, such that public procurement procedures should impose specific duties of transparency on AI suppliers, prior assessment of impacts on human rights, and vigilance as to the possible adverse effects of AI applications. Furthermore, supervisory authorities should be consulted when AI applications have the potential to significantly impact the human rights and fundamental freedoms of data subjects.

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