AI initiatives in European countries

Denmark

National Strategy for AI was published in March 2019.

On the 1st May 2019 the Danish Competition and Consumer Agency (DCCA) established a”Center for Digital Platforms” to strengthen the enforcement of competition rules against digital platforms.  It is intened that the Center will be a hub for the DCCA to analyze the impact of big data, ML, AI and algorithms. Further information here.

France

There are numerous initiatives in France including the Villani Report (2018), France Intelligence Artificielle (2017) and a CNIL report, The ethical matters raised by algorithms and artificial intelligence (2017)

Germany

In 2019 the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency published an excellent report identifying the Risks of Discrimination through the Use of Algorithms. This is now available in an official English language publication. It identifies the risks of discrimination through an analysis of numerous scenarios.

An Artificial Intelligence Strategy was published in November 2018 along with Industrie 4.0.

Germany’s Federal Government set up the Data Ethics Commission (Datenethikkommission) on 18 July 2018. It asked the Commission key questions concerning algorithm-based decision-making (ADM), AI and data. In October 2019 the Commission published its Opinion (available in English). The Opinion opened by stating that –

Humans are morally responsible for their actions, and there is no escaping this moral dimension. Humans are responsible for the goals they pursue, the means by which they pursue them, and their reasons for doing so. Both this dimension and the societal conditionality of human action must always be taken into account when designing our technologically shaped future. At the same time, the notion that technology should serve humans rather than humans being subservient to technology can be taken as incontrovertible fact. Germany’s constitutional system is founded on this understanding of human nature, and it adheres to the tradition of Europe’s cultural and intellectual history. Digital technologies have not altered our ethical framework – in terms of the basic values, rights and freedoms enshrined in the German Constitution and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Yet the new challenges we are facing mean that we need to reassert these values, rights and freedoms and perform new balancing exercises. With this in mind, the Data Ethics Commission believes that the following ethical and legal principles and precepts should be viewed as indispensable and socially accepted benchmarks for action

The Opinion made numerous recommendations as to the way forward for the German Federal Republic to deal with identified harms. In relation to discrimination the Opinion stated –

Consideration should be given to expanding the scope of anti-discrimination legislation to cover specific situations in which an individual is discriminated against on the basis of automated data analysis or an automated decision-making procedure. In addition, the legislator should take effective steps to prevent discrimination on the basis of group characteristics which do not in themselves qualify as protected characteristics under law, and where the discrimination often does not currently qualify as indirect discrimination on the basis of a protected characteristic.

Recommendation 53

Ireland

The Data Protection Commission is the national independent authority in Ireland responsible for upholding the fundamental right of individuals in the European Union (EU) to have their personal data protected. 

There is also an Irish Development Agency with a program on AI as explained here at Ireland AI Island.

The Government is undertaking a public consultation on a national strategy on AI. Given how important Ireland is as the base for major tech companies in Europe this will be closely watched. It is available here The consultation closes on the 7th November 2019.

In Dwyer v Commissioner of An Garda Siochana & ors [2018] IEHC 685 the Irish High Court reviewed the circumstances in which a democracy may tolerate the State mandated electronic surveillance of every citizen who uses a telephone device and considered whether the Irish Police (“An Garda Síochána”) could consider that information.

Italy

An AI strategy was published in March 2018 – L’intelligenza artificiale al servizio del cittadino.

Lithuania

An AI strategy was published in 2019 – Artificial Intelligence Strategy: A Vision of the Future.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands there is considerable concern about the use of Governmental data bases to target the poor. The relevant legislation is available here. Litigation has been started to challenge the legality of this in the so – called SyRI case. The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty has filed an important amicus brief on the implications for poor people of the digitisation of welfare benefits in the Netherlands which is available here. The Dutch Government response can be seen here.

The Rechtbank Den Haag gave its judgment in the SyRi case on the 5th February 2020. An English translation is available here.

Sweden

An AI strategy was published in May 2018 – National orientation for artificial intelligence.

Sweden has an excellent National Centre for applied AI research and innovation called AI Innovation. The Center provides counseling and guidance in legislative procedures, laws (e.g. GDPR) and the regulatory landscape relating to personal data, data protection, data privacy, intellectual property rights and legal agreements and contracts.

Norway

A national AI strategy was published in May 2020 – “National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence” and is available here.