Privacy Commissioner demands AI oversight

(Photo: 123RF)

Artificial intelligence must be regulated to protect the privacy and fundamental rights of Canadians, according to the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

By releasing new recommendations on Thursday to regulate artificial intelligence, Commissioner Daniel Therrien called for legislative measures to regulate the use and development of these systems.

Such legislation will make it possible to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence while respecting the fundamental right of individuals to respect for their privacy, he said in a statement.

Mr. Therrien believes that these changes should “enshrine the protection of privacy as a human right and as an essential element in the exercise of other fundamental rights”.

Artificial intelligence models analyze and attempt to predict aspects of human behavior and interests that can be used to make automated decisions about individuals.

These decisions include offering a job or a bank loan to a person, fixing their insurance premiums and even raising suspicions of illegal behavior, underlines the Commissioner.

“These decisions have a real impact on people’s lives. The manner in which they are taken raises concerns, as well as questions of fairness, accuracy, bias and discrimination, ”says Mr. Therrien.

“Artificial intelligence has immense potential, but it must be implemented in a way that respects privacy, equality and other human rights. “

Legislative changes needed

The Commissioner believes that legislative changes are necessary to address these concerns. These include amending the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” to regulate the use of personal information in artificial intelligence innovation.

It recommends in particular to “create a right to obtain a valid explanation following automated decision-making” and a right to challenge such decisions.

It also calls for strengthening the accountability of organizations by requiring proof of privacy and allowing the Office of the Privacy Commissioner “to make binding orders and impose commensurate financial penalties to encourage compliance. of the law “.

Last month, the privacy commissioners of Canada, Alberta and British Columbia said five million images of customers’ faces had been collected without their consent in some of the most popular shopping malls. busiest in the country.

Real estate firm Cadillac Fairview used cameras and facial recognition technology to determine the age and gender of buyers, according to the commissioners’ investigation.

The commissioners clarified that they do not have the power to impose fines on Cadillac Fairview or any other company that violates the privacy of Canadians.

British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy said the inability to punish these violations was “an incredible loophole in Canadian law that really needs to change.”



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