Human bias and discrimination in AI systems

As part of our AI auditing framework blog series, Reuben Binns, our Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Valeria Gallo, Technology Policy adviser, look at how AI can play a part in maintaining or amplifying human biases and discrimination. This post is part of our ongoing Call for Input on developing the ICO framework for auditing AI. We encourage you to share your views by leaving a comment below or by emailing us at AIAuditingFramework@ico.org.uk. The fact that AI systems learn from data does not guarantee that their outputs will…

Blog: Supporting people accessing their data from the police

25 June 2019 By Suzanne Gordon, Director of Data Protection Complaints and Compliance Anyone in the UK has the legal right to find out what information is held about them by organisations and ask for a copy free of charge within one calendar month. This is known as a subject access request (SAR). Accessing personal data in this way has always been a cornerstone of data protection, strengthened last year by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018). As people become more aware of…

ICO fines telecoms company EE Limited for sending unlawful text messages

The ICO has fined telecoms company EE Limited £100,000 for sending over 2.5 million direct marketing messages to its customers, without consent. The messages, sent in early 2018, encouraged customers to access and use the ‘My EE’ app to manage their account and also to upgrade their phone; a second batch of messages was sent to customers who had not engaged with the first. During the ICO investigation EE stated the texts were sent as service messages and were therefore not covered by electronic marketing rules. However the ICO found the…

Blog: ICO Adtech update report published following industry engagement

20 June 2019 By Simon McDougall, Executive Director for Technology and Innovation In recent months we’ve been reviewing how personal data is used in real time bidding (RTB) in programmatic advertising, engaging with key stakeholders directly and via our fact-finding forum event to understand the views and concerns of those involved. Today we’re publishing our Update report into adtech and real time bidding which summarises our findings so far. We have focused on RTB due to its complexity, the risks it poses and the low level of data protection maturity…

ICO fines home security company for making thousands of nuisance calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Smart Home Protection Ltd £90,000 for making nuisance calls to people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The Staffordshire company was behind 118,000 unlawful marketing calls made between January 2017 and September 2018 to people registered with the TPS. It is against the law to make marketing calls to numbers that have been registered with the TPS for more than 28 days, unless people have provided consent. The full penalty notice to Smart Home Protection Ltd can be read here. The ICO…

Messaging Giant Telegram’s ICO Token Is at Last Going on Public Sale

Messaging app giant Telegram’s gram token, previously sold to accredited investors in the biggest ICO of all time back in early 2018, is at last to be offered to the public. As reported by TechCrunch, a limited sale of the gram token will take place on the Liquid exchange from July 10. The offering reportedly comes before a full public sale planned for October. The cost of the token and the targeted total for the raise are not being disclosed as yet. The sale is being made via Gram Asia, which TechCrunch says…

Former customer services officer fined after unlawfully accessing personal data

A former customer services officer at Stockport Homes Limited (SHL) has been found guilty of unlawfully accessing personal data without a legitimate reason to do so. Wendy Masterson spent time looking at anti social behaviour cases on SHLs case management system when she wasn’t authorised to do so. She accessed the system a total of 67 times between January and December 2017. The offences came to light following an audit of Masterson’s access to SHL’s case management system, after concerns were raised regarding her performance, which resulted in Masterson’s suspension…

$1 Billion Valuation May Elude Ethereum Co-Founder’s New Blockchain Polkadot

Blockchain project Polkadot’s bid for a $1.2 billion valuation has hit a snag. Since January, the Web3 Foundation, the Switzerland-based nonprofit behind the project, has been trying to raise up to $60 million through a private token sale. According to people familiar with the situation, three Chinese funds have agreed to invest $15 million in the project’s DOT tokens. However, these three investors agreed to pay prices that, on average, valued the project below $1 billion, the sources said – falling short of the unicorn threshold Polkadot was reportedly seeking.…

Blog: Counting the cost of accessing environmental information

3 June 2019 A blog by Gill Bull, Director of Freedom of Information At the beginning of May, Parliament declared a ‘climate change emergency’ and concerns about the environment make news headlines almost every day. So it’s more important than ever that people are able to get the information they need to take part in informed debates. A recent decision taken by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will now make it easier for people to do so. Alongside the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the ICO also regulates the…

When it comes to explaining AI decisions, context matters

Alex Hubbard, Senior Policy Officer at the ICO, looks at some of the key themes identified in the ICO and The Alan Turing Institute’s interim report about explanations of AI decisions. Explainability of AI decisions is a key area of the AI auditing framework. This guidance from Project ExplAIn will inform our assessment methodology. If an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system makes a decision about an individual, should that person be given an explanation of how the decision was made? Should they get the same information about a decision regarding criminal…