Artificial intelligence threatens individual privacy: commissioner

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Artificial intelligence (AI) may provide great benefits for society but must be overseen rigorously to protect Canadians’ privacy, the federal privacy watchdog says.The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said AI uses are based on individuals’ personal information and can have serious consequences for privacy as AI models have the capability to analyze, infer and predict aspects of behaviour and interests.

“Artificial intelligence has immense promise, but it must be implemented in ways that respect privacy, equality and other human rights,” said Commissioner Daniel Therrien. “A rights-based approach will support innovation and the responsible development of artificial intelligence.”

A problem with the growing use of AI, though, explained McGill University’s faculty of law professor Ignacio Cofone, is that people cannot opt out of data collection.

He said new laws should not define AI or be technologically specific.

Rather, he said, “The statute should focus on the risks to human rights posed by technology.”

“Sharing personal information is much more embedded in our daily lives than it was in 2001, including tools and services that people cannot opt out of if they wish to continue functioning normally in our society, such as email and cell phones,” Cofone said in a …

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