How does the IMCO-LIBE report on the AI Act meet civil society recommendations for protecting fundamental rights?

Article by Fair Trials

In November 2021, Fair Trials joined 122 other civil society organisations to call for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act which foregrounds our fundamental rights. The collective statement outlined nine recommendations for how the EU’s AI Act can put people and their fundamental rights first.

In a new joint statement, we evaluate how far the recent IMCO-LIBE draft Report on the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act addresses those recommendations. There are some positive changes in the draft Report, including the introduction of an obligation on users of high-risk AI systems to inform affected people that they are subject to an AI system.

However, much more work needs to be done to ensure that the AI Act respects and protects people and their fundamental rights. We call on Members of the European Parliament to support amendments which centre people affected by AI systems, prevent harm in the use of AI systems, and offer comprehensive protection for fundamental rights in the AI Act.

One of these necessary amendments is to ensure that ‘place-based’ predictive policing is included as a prohibitive practice. Predictive policing is known to reinforce discrimination and undermine fundamental rights. However, the draft Report does not go far enough towards preventing these unacceptable practices: although ‘place-based’ systems are equally harmful, it only bans those that target individuals.

The draft Report also omits the crucial obligation to ensure the accountability of users deploying high risk AI systems: fundamental rights impact assessments before deployment. In addition, much more must be done to ensure public transparency over high-risk uses.

It is vital that the legislators foreground the concerns of people and issues of fundamental rights in onward negotiations on the AI Act. Moving forward, we urge MEPs to be bold in amending the AI Act to safeguard the rights of people and ensure that AI development and deployment fully respects fundamental rights and democracy.

Read all our recommendations here.