Algorithms, artificial intelligence and human rights: MSI-AUT Meeting

posted on 29 March, 2018   (public)

MSI-AUT entrusted to prepare a standard setting instrument and two studies

The first meeting of the newly formed Committee of experts on Human Rights Dimensions of automated data processing and different forms of artificial intelligence (MSI-AUT) was held on 6-7 March 2018 in Strasbourg.

The committee operates under the supervision of the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) and draws upon the existing Council of Europe standards and the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. The focus of the first meeting was to discuss the form and scope of the deliverables it is expected to finalise by the end of its mandate in December 2019. On this occasion, the MSI-AUT elected Mr. Luukas Ilves (Estonia) as its Chair and Mr. Wolfgang Schulz (Director of Hans-Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg) as its Vice-Chair.

The following conclusions and decisions have been made during the meeting:

  • MSI-AUT will prepare a possible standard setting instrument based on the Study on the human rights dimensions of automated data processing techniques (in particular algorithms and possible regulatory implications). Firstly, the MSI-AUT will prepare a document (possibly a declaration) addressing the power of algorithmic processes to manipulate the formation of opinions, media environments and democratic processes, with a focus on Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Secondly, it will prepare a draft Committee of Ministers recommendation on human rights impacts of the use of algorithms, with guidelines for member states on how to curb negative impacts and promote benefits for society both in the public and private sectors. 
  • MSI-AUT will also study the development and use of new digital technologies and services, including different forms of artificial intelligence, as they may impact peoples’ enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms in the digital age – with a view to give guidance for future standard-setting in this field. The group considered the proposal to prepare a study of the concept of responsibility for AI decision-making systems within a human rights framework. Ms. Karen Yeung was appointed as Rapporteur of this study.
  • Finally, MSI-AUT will examine the impact of civil and administrative defamation laws and their relation to the criminal provisions on defamation, as well as jurisdictional challenges in the application of those laws in the international digital environment. The group decided to assign this study to an external expert. Its aim will be to examine the impacts of libel tourism in member states, particularly those emanating from proceedings under civil and administrative law related to alleged defamation online, and the risks that it carries to the freedom of expression.

The next MSI-AUT meeting will be held in Strasbourg on the week of 24 September 2018.

Additional EPRA Background: Note that “Filters, algorithms and their impact on diversity” was the focus of a plenary session at the 45th EPRA meeting in Edinburgh in May 2017, with a keynote presentation by Prof. Natali Helberger, who is also part of the MSI-AUT.

Source: CoE Freedom of Expression Website