NEWS8 December 2023

ICO warns AI developers to uphold privacy rights

AI GDPR News Privacy Public Sector Technology UK

UK – The Information Commissioner, John Edwards, has called for tech developers to embed privacy into their products from the outset and warned 2024 could be the year in which public trust in artificial intelligence (AI) wanes.


Speaking at TechUK’s Digital Ethics Summit 2023, Edwards said that AI had an important role for business, but that benefits could not be at the expense of people’s privacy and that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) would take action in cases where this principle was not upheld.

“If people don’t trust AI, then they’re less likely to use it, resulting in reduced benefits and less growth or innovation in society as a whole,” Edwards said.

“This needs addressing. 2024 cannot be the year that consumers lose trust in AI.”

Edwards added that the ICO would seek to impose fines on those business’ that did not uphold data privacy principles and ethics when developing new technology.

“We know there are bad actors out there who aren’t respecting people’s information and who are using technology like AI to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors,” he said.

“Our message to those organisations is clear – non-compliance with data protection will not be profitable. Persistent misuse of customers’ information, or misuse of AI in these situations, in order to gain a commercial advantage over others will always be viewed negatively by my office.”

Edwards concluded: “Privacy and AI go hand in hand – there is no either/or here. You cannot expect to utilise AI in your products or services without considering privacy, data protection and how you will safeguard people’s rights.

“There are no excuses for not ensuring that people’s personal information is protected if you are using AI systems, products or services.”