(h) Data protection and privacy

Publisher: European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, European Commission

In an age of ubiquitous and massive collection of data through digital communication technologies, the right to protection of personal information and the right to respect for privacy are crucially challenged. Both physical AI robots as part of the Internet of Things, as well as AI softbots that operate via the World Wide Web must comply with data protection regulations and not collect and spread data or be run on sets of data for whose use and dissemination no informed consent has been given. ‘Autonomous’ systems must not interfere with the right to private life which comprises the right to be free from technologies that influence personal development and opinions, the right to establish and develop relationships with other human beings, and the right to be free from surveillance. Also in this regard, exact criteria should be defined and mechanisms established that ensure ethical development and ethically correct application of ‘autonomous’ systems. In light of concerns with regard to the implications of ‘autonomous’ systems on private life and privacy, consideration may be given to the ongoing debate about the introduction of two new rights: the right to meaningful human contact and the right to not be profiled, measured, analysed, coached or nudged.