NEWS15 October 2021

Right to review AI decisions should remain

AI GDPR News Privacy Public Sector UK

UK – The right to human review of decisions made by artificial intelligence (AI) should be retained in law while the industry is in its “infancy”, according to BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Stamp for GDPR

The right to human review is one of the issues raised in a government consultation on potential changes to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The consultation, which is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, includes proposals to remove or reform article 22 of the GDPR, which provides the right to review fully automated decisions.

The consultation said that retaining human review of AI decisions might “not be practicable or proportionate” in the future, and that it was important to assess when this safeguard is needed.

However, the consultation acknowledges there could be a “legitimate need for certain ‘high risk’ AI-derived decisions to require a human review”.

Dr Sam De Silva, chair of BCS’ Law Specialist Group and a partner at law firm CMS, said clarity was required on people’s rights in situations where there is fully-automated decision making.

“We would also welcome clarity on whether article 22( 1 ) should be interpreted as a blanket prohibition of all automated data processing that fits the criteria or a more limited right to challenge a decision resulting from such processing,” De Silva said.

“As the professional body for IT, BCS is not convinced that either retaining Article 22 in its current form or removing it achieves such clarity.”

BCS said that as AI does not always involve personal data to make decisions, wider regulation of the AI industry should be considered.

“If we think the protection is important enough it should not go into the GDPR,” said De Silva.

“It begs the question – do we need to regulate AI generally, and not through the ‘back door’ via GDPR?

“It‘s welcome that government is consulting carefully before making any changes to people’s right to appeal decisions about them by algorithms and automated systems – but the technology is still in its infancy.”

The consultation on the future of GDPR runs until 19th November 2021, and can be accessed here.