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Concerns over UK plans to ditch AI data rules

The UK government’s proposals to remove the right to have a human review some decisions made by algorithms has raised concerns both in the EU and among data privacy campaigners.

The move could form part of government plans to overhaul the UK's data regime as it looks to boost innovation, following Brexit, and could deliver, according to Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, a “data dividend” for the UK.

Such a move would result in the rewriting or deletion of Article 22 of EU data protection regulations despite it being accepted and placed on to the UK’s statute book during Brexit negotiations.

The UK government has launched a 10 week consultation but any move to amend these protections is expected to raise opposition.

The UK is looking to try and become a leader in artificial intelligence and those wanting to amend the current regulations believe that it's failing to keep pace with the needs of an increasingly data driven economy.

The Article guarantees people the right to seek a human review of an algorithmic decision – whether a recruitment decision or the awarding of a financial loan, for example – but critics believe that it is costly and impractical in practice and is holding back the development and use of AI.

But whether a decision is made by a human or by using AI surely the process needs to be as transparent as possible, so that people will be able to fully understand why a decision has been made and how it was reached.

While Article 22 may be burdensome it was created for a very good reason and the government will need to think carefully before amending or dumping it.

Neil Tyler

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