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    ICESCO Releases Study on AI and Requirements for Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Protection

    16 September 2020

    The Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) published a research study on the limits of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The study reviews the role of AI applications in predicting diseases, diagnoses, treatments, follow-up, and control. The research stresses the importance of aligning the uses to national legislations, international laws and agreements relevant to protecting privacy and fundamental rights. ICESCO’s paper also focuses on the need to overcome the challenges to establishing legal frameworks for the protection of personal data in AI uses.

    The “Artificial Intelligence Developments and Requirements of the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” study raises the question “is it time to bid farewell to privacy?”
    In answering the question, the study underscores the importance of striking a balance between humans’ inalienable right to freedom and the need of governments to ensure the protection and integrity of their citizens. The Organization provides several observations and recommendations to outline clear-cut lines for the use of modern technology, including AI applications.

    The study also highlights that AI applications have unveiled many inadequacies, with varying risk levels, affecting the stability and security of individuals and societies.
    The study cited the overabundance of false news and the unfounded studies and articles about the pandemic. The surge in misinformation necessitated the protection of individuals against them, according to the study.

    AI, when properly harnessed, can offer promising and innovative opportunities to overcome challenges of life, the study emphasized.
    The ethical and value-based dimensions, the study warns, should still serve as an essential guide in controlling the pace of innovation. The progress can be obtained through stronger regulatory frameworks that protect humans against technology abuses and infringement on their privacy.

    The study revealed the need for innovative regulatory tools that keep pace with technological development, while pointing out to the huge challenges to the theory of law and regulation during the unprecedented circumstances in the history of humans.
    The study showed how the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the shortcomings of legislations and their inability to keep abreast of and foresee technological change.

    Several ICESCO Member States succeeded in a just compromise between AI applications and the domestic legislations through regulatory texts and governance institutions.
    The new law on the protection of personal data in Indonesia is one example the research cited. Other legal steps include personal data protection policy in Saudi Arabia, private data protection law in the UAE, the provisions and the tool of personal data protection in Morocco, and “Ihmi” (Protect) application and privacy protection in Tunisia.

    ICESCO’s Department of Legal Affairs, through the study, reflected the Organization’s awareness of the ongoing transformations amid the pandemic. The focus is on the need to keep up with ideas, experiences, and techniques deployed to combat and eradicate the pandemic.

    AI applications have dominated public debate on the pandemic and raised concerns over their compliance with the law and respect for human privacy and individual freedoms.
    The Organization works toward aligning legislations to technological changes through a guide to AI ethics in the Islamic world. The document should be the first of its kind in the region.
    The broadlines of the project will be presented to ICESCO’s Executive Council, as part of the Organization’s inclusive approach adopted in its relationship with Member States.

    The full text of the study is available at the following link:
    https://www.icesco.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ai-developements.pdf

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