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Clarity, Surprises, and Further Questions in the Article 29 Working Party Draft Guidance on Automated Decision-Making and Profiling

Computer Law & Security Review, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.clsr.2017.12.002

7 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017 Last revised: 31 Jan 2018

Michael Veale

University College London, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP)

Lilian Edwards

University of Strathclyde

Date Written: November 15, 2017

Abstract

The new Article 29 Data Protection Working Party’s draft guidance on automated decision-making and profiling seeks to clarify the European data protection (DP) law’s little-used right to prevent automated decision-making, as well as the provisions around profiling more broadly, in the run-up to the General Data Protection Regulation. In this paper, we analyse these new guidelines in the context of recent scholarly debates and technological concerns. They foray into the less-trodden areas of bias and non-discrimination, the significance of advertising, the nature of “solely” automated decisions, impacts upon groups and the inference of special categories of data — at times, appearing more to be making or extending rules than to be interpreting them. At the same time, they provide only partial clarity — and perhaps even some extra confusion — around both the much discussed “right to an explanation” and the apparent prohibition on significant automated decisions concerning children. The Working Party appear to feel less mandated to adjudicate in these conflicts between the recitals and the enacting articles than to explore altogether new avenues. Nevertheless, the directions they choose to explore are particularly important ones for the future governance of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Europe and beyond.

Keywords: GDPR, Article 22, Profiling, Machine Learning, AI Governance, Data Governance, Right to an Explanation, Right to Explanation, Access Rights, Algorithmic Accountability, Algorithmic Bias, FATML, Article 29 Working Party, A29WP, Article 29

Suggested Citation

Veale, Michael and Edwards, Lilian, Clarity, Surprises, and Further Questions in the Article 29 Working Party Draft Guidance on Automated Decision-Making and Profiling (November 15, 2017). Computer Law & Security Review, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.clsr.2017.12.002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3071679 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3071679

Michael Veale (Contact Author)

University College London, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) ( email )

Boston House
36–38 Fitzroy Square
London, W1t 3EY
United Kingdom

Lilian Edwards

University of Strathclyde ( email )

16 Richmond Street
Glasgow 1XQ, Scotland
United Kingdom

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