Digital Transformation of Decision-Making https://digitaldecision-making.net A research initiative of the Amsterdam Law School Tue, 26 May 2020 13:22:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://digitaldecision-making.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2020/04/cropped-Screen-Shot-2020-04-16-at-7.48.23-PM-e1587059362628-32x32.png Digital Transformation of Decision-Making https://digitaldecision-making.net 32 32 Panel discussion: The SyRI-case: consequences for risk profiling and automated decision-making https://digitaldecision-making.net/2020/05/26/panel-discussion-the-syri-case-consequences-for-risk-profiling-and-automated-decision-making/ Tue, 26 May 2020 13:20:01 +0000 https://digitaldecision-making.net/?p=390 Read More]]> The DTDM initiative is organising a panel Discussion with Christiaan van Veen, Anton Ekker and Naomi Appelman.

SyRI Panel Discussion
29 May 2020, Friday
16:00 – 17:30

The District Court of The Hague ruled that the government has a ‘special responsibility’ to guarantee fundamental rights and to avert any discrimination or social stigmatisation in the application of new technologies. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this responsibility for the fundamental rights and social implications of automated systems employed by the government is more pressing than ever.

 Christiaan van Veen is the Director of the Digital Welfare State and Human Rights Project at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law. Christiaan van Veen serves as Special Advisor on new technologies and human rights to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Anton Ekker is the founder and attorney at Ekker Advocatuur, with a PhD from the Institute of Information Law. Mr. Ekker was the lead attorney in the SyRI case, representing the civil society groups that were fighting to overturn the SyRI legislation.

Naomi Appelman is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Information law and part of the sectorplan project on the digital transformation of decision-making. The discussion will be moderated by Joris van Hoboken, associate professor at the Institute for Information law.

Please RSVP to n.appelman@uva.nl (zoom link will be shared on Thursday, 28 May 2020).

Further information on the SyRI judgment can be found here.

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New study: Legal Framework on the Dissemination of Disinformation https://digitaldecision-making.net/2020/05/18/new-study-legal-framework-on-the-dissemination-of-disinformation/ Mon, 18 May 2020 13:12:00 +0000 https://digitaldecision-making.net/?p=381 Read More]]> The study, commissioned by the Dutch government, focuses on the legal framework governing the dissemination of disinformation, in particular through Internet services. The study provides an extensive overview of relevant European and Dutch legal norms relating to the spread of online disinformation, and recommendations are given on how to improve this framework. Additionally, the study includes an analysis of the relevant legal framework in 6 different countries (U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Sweden and Canada).  

The report makes clear how the freedom of expression runs as a central theme through the legal framework, both forming the outer limit for possible regulation and a legal basis to create new regulation (e.g. protecting pluralism). The legal framework governing disinformation online is shown to be very broad, encompassing different levels of regulation, shifting depending on the context and already regulating many different types of disinformation. Further, oversight seems to be fragmented with many different supervisory authorities involved but limited cooperation. Based on this analysis, the report offers several recommendations, such as on the use of disinformation not as a legal term but a policy term, on negotiating the tensions on the different policy levels, on the regulation of internet intermediaries including transparency obligations and on increased cooperation between the relevant supervisory authorities.

Previously, the interim report focusing on political advertising was published in late 2019. Both these studies have been carried out in the context of this DTDM research initiative. The study was led by Joris van Hoboken. Researchers involved are Naomi Appelman, Ronan Fahy, Paddy Leerssen, Tarlach McGonagle, Nico van Eijk (until October 31, 2019) and Natali Helberger.

You can view the report in Dutch and in English.

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Prof. Natali Helberger’s statement in the Dutch Parliament on COVID-19 app https://digitaldecision-making.net/2020/04/23/prof-natali-helbergers-statement-in-the-dutch-parliament-on-covid-19-app/ Thu, 23 Apr 2020 08:26:26 +0000 https://digitaldecision-making.net/?p=287 Read More]]> English below

Statement van Prof. Dr. Natali Helberger naar aanleiding van de uitnodiging deel te nemen aan het rondetafelgesprek over de Corona-app in de Tweede Kamer op 22 April 2020:

Geachte voorzitter, geachte leden van de Tweede Kamer, hartelijk bedankt voor deze uitnodiging.

Samen met mijn collega’s hebben wij afgelopen week een brief geschreven die inmiddels door meer dan 180 wetenschappers en experts is getekend. Een brief die wereldwijd navolging heeft gekregen, ook in België, Duitsland en Zwitserland zijn naar aanleiding van ons initiatief vergelijkbare brieven verstuurd.  

1. Moet er überhaupt een app komen?
Wij hebben deze brief geschreven om onze zorg te uiten over het ontbreken van de ruimte voor het stellen en beantwoorden van een aantal noodzakelijke vragen. Veel vragen zijn gisteren ook door uw kamer gesteld tijdens de technische briefing, zoals de vraag of een contact tracking app überhaupt de juiste oplossing is, en zo ja, voor welk probleem. Dit is nog steeds een hele centrale vraag.

2. Fundamenteel rechtelijke implicaties
Bij het beantwoorden van deze vraag zijn fundamentele rechten een belangrijk uitgangspunt. Op dit moment wordt de app vooral vanuit het gezichtspunt van de AVG besproken, de bescherming van onze persoonsgegevens,  en of de verzamelde data wel of niet anoniem is. Dat is heel belangrijk, maar privacy gaat over veel meer dan alleen onze persoonsgegevens. Privacy gaat ook over het recht op autonomie, zelfbeschikking en op straat te kunnen lopen zonder het gevoel onder surveillance te staan. Dit brede privacybegrip moet ook een plaats krijgen in de afweging of er een app moet komen, en zo ja, welke.

Naast de privacy zijn er ook nog andere belangrijke fundamentele rechten die de app zal raken, zoals het recht op non-discriminatie, verzameling, veiligheid als ook economische rechten.

Aan de impact van tracking apps op deze fundamentele rechten is tot nu toe geen aandacht besteed, en toch is het uw taak om ook over deze fundamentele rechten en vrijheden te waken.

De impact van trackingapps op al deze andere fundamentele rechten is namelijk potentieel enorm.

Uiteindelijk zullen wij met tracking apps een precedent scheppen, of we dat nu willen of niet. Eenmaal geïnstalleerd op al onze telefoons hebben we snel precies de digitale surveillance infrastructuur gecreëerd waarvoor wij onze burgers tot voor kort juist wilden beschermen. En uit eerdere crises is gebleken dat ondanks alle goede bedoelingen vooraf, zo’n maatregel in de praktijk vaak nooit meer weggaat (denk aan de Patriot Act na 9/11).

Privacy en gezondheid, of privacy en de heropening van de economie hoeven geen tegenstellingen te zijn, zoals wij helaas steeds nog in het publiek debat vaak genoeg horen. De uitdaging in een democratische rechtsstaat is een oplossing die verenigbaar is met onze fundamentele rechten en vrijheden dus: voorzien bij wet, noodzakelijk en proportioneel.  De maatregel, in dit geval de trackingapp, moet met andere woorden een zware proportionaliteitstoets kunnen doorstaan, des te meer omdat er zo vele fundamentele rechten worden geraakt.

Eerste wetenschappelijke simulaties roepen ernstige twijfels op of de voorgestelde apps überhaupt aan deze toets kunnen voldoen, en experts waarschuwen dat de kans even groot is dat een app een gevaarlijk gevoel van schijnveiligheid creëert.

3. Verder kijken dan een app
Ik sluit zeker niet uit dat digitale technologie, zoals een app, een nuttige bijdrage kan leveren. Maar als er een app komt, en dit is mijn laatste punt, moet de introductie begeleid worden door een weldoordachte beleidsstrategie die zich richt op het achterliggende systeem. Deze strategie moet verder kijken dan de app en ervoor zorgen dat er voldoende testmateriaal,  capaciteit, coördinatie en procedures voor het omgaan met resultaten, fouten en misbruik zijn. En ze moet erop voorbereid zijn om met de maatschappelijke en juridische gevolgen, juist ook na de introductie van de technologie, om te kunnen gaan.  De maatschappelijke impact van technologische maatregelen stopt niet met de introductie van een app. Ze begint dan pas!


[EN]

Statement by Prof. Dr. Natali Helberger in response to the invitation to participate in the round table discussion on the Corona app in the Lower House on 22 April 2020:

Dear Chairman, members of the Lower House, thank you very much for this invitation.

Together with my colleagues, we wrote a letter last week which has now been signed by more than 180 scientists and experts. A letter that has been imitated worldwide, also in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland similar letters have been sent as a result of our initiative.

1. Should there be an app at all?
We wrote this letter in order to express our concern about the lack of space for asking and answering a number of necessary questions. Many questions were also asked by your room yesterday during the technical briefing, such as whether a contact tracking app is the right solution at all, and if so, for which problem. This is still a very central question.

2. Fundamental legal implications
In answering this question, fundamental rights are an important starting point. Currently, the app is mainly discussed from the point of view of the AVG, the protection of our personal data, and whether or not the collected data is anonymous. This is very important, but privacy is about much more than just our personal data. Privacy is also about the right to autonomy, self-determination and to be able to walk the streets without feeling under surveillance. This broad concept of privacy must also be given a place in the consideration of whether there should be an app, and if so, which one.

In addition to privacy, there are other important fundamental rights that will be affected by the app, such as the right to non-discrimination, collection, security as well as economic rights.

No attention has been paid to the impact of tracking apps on these fundamental rights so far, and yet it is your job to watch over these fundamental rights and freedoms as well.

The impact of tracking apps on all these other fundamental rights is potentially enormous.

Ultimately, we will set a precedent with tracking apps, whether we like it or not. Once installed on all our phones, we quickly created exactly the digital surveillance infrastructure we wanted to protect our citizens from until recently. And previous crises have shown that despite all the good intentions beforehand, such a measure often never goes away in practice (think of the Patriot Act after 9/11).

Privacy and health, or privacy and the reopening of the economy, need not be opposites, as we unfortunately still hear often enough in the public debate. The challenge in a democratic constitutional state is a solution that is compatible with our fundamental rights and freedoms: provided by law, necessary and proportional. In other words, the measure, in this case the tracking app, must be able to withstand a heavy proportionality test, all the more so because so many fundamental rights are affected.

Initial scientific simulations raise serious doubts as to whether the proposed apps can meet this test at all, and experts warn that an app is just as likely to create a dangerous sense of false security.

3. Looking beyond an app
I certainly do not rule out the possibility that digital technology, such as an app, can make a useful contribution. But when an app comes, and this is my final point, the introduction must be accompanied by a well thought-out policy strategy that focuses on the underlying system. This strategy should look beyond the app and ensure that there is sufficient test material, capacity, coordination and procedures for dealing with results, errors and abuse. And it must be prepared to deal with the social and legal consequences, especially after the introduction of the technology. The social impact of technological measures does not stop with the introduction of an app. It only begins then!

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Opinion: Shaping Europe’s digital future https://digitaldecision-making.net/2020/04/17/opinion-shaping-europes-digital-future/ Fri, 17 Apr 2020 13:28:00 +0000 https://digitaldecision-making.net/?p=282 Read More]]> By Ronan Fahy

On 19 February 2020, the European Commission published its important Communication on Shaping Europe’s digital future, which sets out the Commission’s focus for the next five years (2020-2025) on “Creating a Europe fit for the digital age”.

The Communication begins with the Commission noting that it would focus on three key objectives to ensure that digital solutions help Europe towards a digital transformation, namely: (a) technology that works for people, (b) a fair and competitive economy, and (c) an open, democratic and sustainable society. The Communication then proceeds to elaborate upon these three key objectives, and the key actions that will be implemented. First, in relation to technology that works for people, the Commission sets out a number of key actions it will adopt. These include accelerating investments in Europe’s Gigabit connectivity, through a revision of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive; an updated Action Plan on 5G and 6G; and a new Radio Spectrum Policy Programme. There will also be a Digital Education Action Plan to boost digital literacy and competences at all levels of education.

Secondly, regarding a fair and competitive economy, the Communication focuses on online platforms, and states that some platforms have “acquired significant scale, which effectively allows them to act as private gatekeepers to markets, customers and information.” As such, the Commission states that “[w]e must ensure that the systemic role of certain online platforms and the market power they acquire will not put in danger the fairness and openness of our market.” In this regard, the key actions under this theme will include: a European Data Strategy to make Europe a global leader in the data-agile economy; a legislative framework for data governance (in Q4 2020); and a possible Data Act (in 2021). In addition, there will be an evaluation and review of the fitness of EU competition rules for the digital age (over the period 2020-2023), and the launch of a sector inquiry (in 2020). Notably, the Commission will further explore, in the context of the Digital Services Act package, ex ante rules to ensure that markets characterised by large platforms with significant network effects, acting as gatekeepers, remain fair and contestable for innovators, businesses and new market entrants (in Q4 2020).

Thirdly, in relation to an open and democratic society, the Communication notes that it is essential that the rules applicable to digital services across the European Union be strengthened and modernised, and that the roles and responsibilities of online platforms be clarified. Furthermore, in a “world where much of the public debate and political advertising has moved online, we must also be prepared to act to forcefully defend our democracies.” Crucially, the Communication states that trustworthy, quality media is a key element for democracy as well as for cultural diversity, and “with these in mind, the Commission will present a European Democracy Action Plan and a specific action plan for the media and audiovisual sector.” In this regard, key actions will include: (a) new and revised rules to deepen the Internal Market for Digital Services, by increasing and harmonising the responsibilities of online platforms and information service providers and reinforcing the oversight over platforms’ content policies in the European Union (in Q4 2020, as part of the Digital Services Act package); (b) a media and audiovisual Action Plan to support the digital transformation and competitiveness of the audiovisual and media sector, to stimulate access to quality content and media pluralism (in Q4 2020); and (c) a European Democracy Action Plan to improve the resilience of our democratic systems, support media pluralism and address the threats of external intervention in European elections (Q4 2020).

Finally, the Communication concludes by addressing the international dimension of the issue, maintaining that it would use all instruments at its disposal to ensure that everyone respects EU legislation and international rules in order to maintain a level playing field in the digital sector.

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