Safeguarding data privacy in the age of artificial intelligence

14th September 2023

There has been much talk recently of how AI can re-shape the way we work. Yet with great technological advancements come great responsibilities, especially in the data protection realm. AI can exacerbate existing data protection concerns like fairness, transparency and data minimisation, while introducing new risks such as security vulnerabilities.

What key legal considerations should your organisation keep in mind when implementing AI?

  1. Consult the Information Commissioners Office (‘ICO’) guidance.
    Review the ICO’s updated guidance on the integration of AI into product and service offerings. Their Data Protection Risk Toolkit encourages a risk-based approach to AI, with appropriate mitigation. Most notably, the ICO’s view is that a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) will be needed before any AI system is implemented.
  2. Develop clear and concise privacy policies.
    You need to be transparent about how you process personal data using AI systems. Organisations should develop clear and concise privacy policies outlining what personal data their AI systems will use, the legal basis for doing so, and the objectives, scope and potential implications of AI-driven data processing activities.
  3. Implement strong data security measures.
    Organisations should implement robust technical and organisational measures to mitigate the risks of unauthorised access, data breaches and other security vulnerabilities. Thorough employee training should be implemented, as to when and how AI may be used within the organisation. Avoid over-collecting data that isn’t necessary for the intended purpose to reduce the impact of any breach.
  4. Execute suitable contracts with qualified third-party processors.
    If an organisation engages third-party data processors to handle personal data for AI purposes, it should ensure that these processors meet and adhere to stringent data protection requirements. Clear contractual agreements should be established, defining the obligations, responsibilities and liabilities of each party involved.
  5. Establish clear guidelines for the use of AI in decisions.
    The ICO emphasises transparency and fairness in the use of AI to make decisions, particularly in hiring and employment contexts, to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and protect individual rights. Privacy and human rights must also be respected in the design and deployment of AI systems, with individuals provided easy-to-use tools for accessing, correcting or deleting their personal data. While AI can improve processes, it is not a universal solution; human involvement remains essential. Individuals should also be given the chance to contest automated decisions.
  6. Accountability and Documentation.
    Maintain comprehensive records of AI system development, training and decision-making processes to demonstrate compliance with legal requirements.

Businesses can enhance accountability and build trust with individuals by addressing legal considerations related to data protection within their AI systems.

To receive a free audit of your data protection compliance, please use our data protection tool.

To learn more about the legal implications of using AI, join us for our free webinar as part of Leeds Digital Festival – RSVP here

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