ECNL urges European Commission to prioritise civic freedoms in AI White Paper
In our submission for the consultation on the EU Artificial Intelligence (AI) White Paper, ECNL urged the European Commission (EC) to clearly prioritise public interest, the protection of individual rights and freedoms, non-discrimination, and equal access to resources and participation, as core concerns of any future strategy and regulative framework on AI. While the EC highlights the potential risks of AI, we share concerns raised by the civil society community that the White Paper’s overall narrative suggests a worrisome reversal of EU priorities, putting global competitiveness ahead of the protection of fundamental rights.
We argue that a human rights-based approach is essential to ensure that AI developed and deployed in the EU can be truly trustworthy and widely accepted. In this regard, we urge that a human rights impact assessment is included throughout the development, deployment and implementation of AI systems and be more elaborate than merely assessing risks as ‘high vs low’.
In particular, we urge the EU to develop clear and coherent criteria when AI and Automated Decision Making (ADM) system has a relevant or potentially harmful impact on an individual, a specific group or society at large – especially their rights and freedoms. Such systems that affect individual and collective rights must not only be made public in clear and accessible terms, but everyone must be able to understand how decisions are reached and how to contest and correct them if necessary.
For more elaboration and specific recommendations see our submission.ECNL Stichting EU AI White Paper submission