The Commission’s AI Act Proposal aims at deploying safer AI systems in the Internal Market. Although many welcome aspects in the Proposal contribute to it, the Proposal as it is currently drafted does not go far enough to protect fundamental rights.
Author: Benjamin Jan
The EU stands on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where emerging technological breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) will generate new opportunities that can enhance the way public administrations operate. The recent wave of digitisation and datafication in the public sector has created momentum for the use of algorithms that take advantage of vast public datasets to improve governance. At the same time, the impact algorithms could have on fundamental rights is a concern for lawmakers at the highest levels of the EU. The European Council has highlighted the importance of ensuring that European citizens’ rights are fully respected, emphasising the need to ensure that AI systems are compatible with fundamental rights and that the proper enforcement of legal rules is facilitated. Further, the European Parliament has requested that measures be taken to prevent practices that would undoubtedly undermine fundamental rights. Responding to these requests, in April 2021 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence. While the proposed improvements for a safer application of AI systems in the EU are welcome, the Commission should aim higher when it comes to establishing safeguards to ensure that natural and legal persons’ fundamental rights are effectively protected through a procedural framework. To illustrate the importance of such a framework, it is worth considering how automated decision-making systems are being increasingly deployed in the public sector in individual administrative cases.