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Keeping An ‘AI’ On Your Data: UK Data Regulator Recommends Lawful Methods Of Using Personal Information And Artificial Intelligence

 |  November 14, 2022

By Coran Darling & Jules Toynton (Technology’s Legal Edge)

Data is often the fuel that powers AI used by organisations. It tailors search parameters, spots behavioural trends, and predicts future possible outcomes (to highlight a just a few uses). In response, many of these organisations seek to accumulate and use as much data as possible, in order to make their systems work that little bit faster or more accurately.

In many cases, providing the data is not subject to copyright or other such restrictions, this is without many issues – organisations are able to amass large quantities of data that can be used initially to train their AI systems, or, after deployment, continue to update their datasets to ensure the latest and most accurate data is used.

Where this becomes a potential issue, is when the data being collected and used is personal information. For example, the principle of ‘data minimisation’ requires that only the necessary amount and type of personal data is used to develop an AI system. This is at odds with the ‘data hoarding’ corporate mentality described above, which seeks to know as much detail as possible. Furthermore, the principle of ‘purpose limitation’ places several restrictions on the re-use of historic data sets to train AI systems. This may cause particular headaches when working with an AI vendor that wishes to further commercialise the AI which has benefited from the learnings and developments of your data in a way that is beyond the purpose for which the data was originally provided.

It is however acknowledged by the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”), the UK’s data regulator, that AI and personal data will forever be interlinked – unavoidably so in certain situations. In response, in November 2022, the ICO released a set of guidance on how organisations can use AI and personal data appropriately and lawfully, in accordance with the data privacy regime of the UK. The guidance is also supplemented by a number of frequently raised concerns when combining AI with personal data, including: should I carry out an impact assessment, do outputs need to comply with the principle of accuracy, and do organisations need permission to analyse personal data…