European Data Privacy Rules Complicating AI Adoption

February 15, 2017

2 Min Read

New European Data Privacy Rules could potentially complicate things for companies that rely on gathering and processing data for their businesses.

According to an article published by Fortune, companies currently working with AI technologies could find it challenging over the coming years, as their operations are now expanding to Europe.

It is predicted that by May 2018, new European Union rules related to the General Data Protection Regulation, will come into effect, which could potentially create some hinders for businesses working with AI.

“At a panel on data privacy at the annual RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, Cisco chief privacy officer Michelle Dennedy explained that companies—from sports brands to pharmaceutical corporations—are gathering more data than ever from the influx of Internet-connected devices now wired into their IT infrastructure”, Fortune writes.

The most prominent issue today is that the upcoming regulation is especially strict on what is known as profiling, which is essentially the ability for companies to use automation to determine certain characteristics of their individual users.

An example of this is when a company applies data analytics and related automation technologies in order to predict whether someone is likely to be a good worker, or more likely to have a specific illness, that business is engaging in profiling, Fortune writes.

Due to the European Union regulation working very hard towards protecting the personal data of individuals, companies working within the EU will have to operate very cautiously with how they handle and process data from their customers.

The punishment for applying data analytics and automation technologies that results in discriminating against specific groups of people, can result in fines that could cost the company up to 4% of their overall revenue, which can result in massive sums.

Today, companies are using various AI technologies (i.e. ML), to build powerful software services that can automatically reach independent decisions based on the processed data provided.

The issue is if this technology starts discriminating groups or excluding certain people from receiving benefits for instance, hence why companies have to be very cautious about how they apply their various types of data for different purposes, which will avoid any risk of violation.

Microsoft’s assistant general counsel Geff Brown said that companies must convince EU lawmakers that AI technologies can be used “in the service of humanity”. Unless this is done, there are provisions “in the new European data law that will be used to crack down on some kinds of artificial intelligence,” he said.

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