60 organizations urge the government to rein in artificial intelligence during its EU presidency

Up to 60 civil society organizations, both Spanish and international, have sent a letter this Wednesday to the Government urging it to increase “the protection of fundamental rights” in the new regulation for artificial intelligence that is being negotiated in Brussels. The signatories ask Spain to take advantage of its rotating presidency of the European Union, which will run from July to December of this year, to establish “robust and respectful legislation” for this technology.

Spain opens an investigation against ChatGPT for possible privacy violations


The new Regulation on Artificial Intelligence that the EU is preparing is now in the final phase of its community procedure and is one of the important European laws on digital matters that will be approved during the Spanish presidency. The Government of Pedro Sánchez has also had a proactive attitude in this regulation, offering Spain as a testing ground for the Regulation and launching new institutions such as AESIA, the Spanish Agency for the Supervision of Artificial Intelligence, which will be established in A Coruña.

“Given the role that the Spanish Government will play from July 1, 2023 when it assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council, and the interest already shown in leading the Artificial Intelligence race in Europe, we believe that the Spanish Presidency must assume a role assertive and guarantee that the legislation is future-proof”, emphasize the signatory organizations.

“Some of our concerns refer to dangerous practices that lead to mass surveillance of the population. By fostering mass surveillance and amplifying some of the deepest social inequalities and power imbalances, AI systems are seriously endangering our fundamental rights and democratic processes and values.

The letter concentrates the requests to the Government in five points. The first is to increase the systems prohibited in the Regulation, which include predictive justice, emotional recognition or the use of systems that can manipulate people by taking advantage of a vulnerability. This is a position shared by the European Parliament, which has recently asked for an increase in the list of prohibited practices included in the Commission’s original proposal to exclude the indiscriminate use of technologies such as facial recognition by the police.

The second point of the letter calls for “eliminating any type of discretion in the process of classifying high-risk systems.” This type of artificial intelligence will be the most restricted and the ones that must include the most safeguards before its deployment. The signatories consider that the current proposal does not sufficiently clarify what type of systems will be classified with the highest level of risk and when.

The third and fourth refer to the mandatory transparency of all AI systems and the establishment of mechanisms so that the people affected by them can “submit claims to public authorities in case of breaches of the Regulation”.

The latest request in the letter revolves around the ability of manufacturers and developers of this technology to influence issues related to fundamental rights. For this reason, they ask that “technical standards not be used to assess the possible impact on the fundamental rights of people” and that “the necessary means and resources be provided to guarantee greater participation of civil society in the standardization processes on the AI ​​Regulation, which are already taking place”.

Finally, the signatory organizations ask the Executive to establish an agenda of meetings with civil society and “guarantees” about what their action plan will be to achieve the objectives set out in the letter.

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