The Citizen AI Coalition, made up of 123 civil society organizations, has asked the Government not to allow large technology companies to manipulate the regulation of the use of artificial intelligence.
As part of its digital strategy, the EU wants to regulate AI to establish the conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology that can bring many benefits, such as better healthcare, safer and cleaner transport, more efficient manufacturing and cheaper and more sustainable energy, explains the European Parliament website.
For months now, the EU has been working on the future Artificial Intelligence Regulation (AI Regulation), a text that, when approved, will be the world’s first standard on AI. In this context, in May, the Citizen AI Coalition sent a letter to the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU warning that AI systems lead to “dangerous practices”, such as mass surveillance of the population, which in addition to amplifying social inequalities, “puts our fundamental rights and democratic processes and values in serious danger.”
This Thursday, this Coalition has expressly asked the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, and the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, to ensure that the new regulation prevents AI systems from being in the hands of the companies that develop it.
The letter asks the Secretary of State that the future regulation of AI prohibit dangerous technologies that can amplify poverty, racism and discrimination, and insists that it is necessary to carry out an impact study on the fundamental rights that may be affected by these technologies to “assess and mitigate risks.”
Likewise, for these social organizations it is necessary to prohibit biometric recognition technologies that allow facial recognition, emotions and body language in public spaces, both in real time and subsequently, because “they violate the right to privacy, privacy , the right to equality and non-discrimination, as well as the right to protest.”
Finally, the AI Citizen Coalition – made up of Amnesty International, SOS Racism, Oxfam Intermon, the Federation of Consumers and Users (CECU), the Hay Derecho Foundation, the University of Distance Education (UNED) and the Association of Users of the Communication (AUC), among many others, regrets “the limited participation of civil society and the lack of transparency and dialogue in the negotiations” on the AI Regulation.
“The participation of civil society is essential to guarantee the protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as to warn of the possible risks of AI that legislation must address,” emphasizes Judith Membrives i Llorens, spokesperson for the coalition and digital advocacy technician at Lafede.cat, one of the Coalition organizations.
“The Spanish Government committed to promoting a digital transformation under the umbrella of digital humanism, but now the time has come to ground that concept in specific legal provisions that protect the threatened rights and freedoms of citizens,” concludes Anabel Arias, responsible of CECU digital rights and spokesperson for the Coalition.