Detecting New Approaches for a Fundamental Rights Impact Assessment to Automated Decision-Making
International Data Privacy Law, Volume 10, Issue 1, February 2020, Pages 76–106, https://doi.org/10.1093/idpl/ipz028
59 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019 Last revised: 17 Feb 2021
Date Written: March 6, 2020
Companies and other private institutions see great and promising profits in the use of automated decision-making (‘ADM’) for commercial-, financial- or efficiency in work processing purposes. Meanwhile, ADM based on a data subjects’ personal data may (severely) impact its fundamental rights and freedoms. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for a regulatory framework that applies whenever a controller considers and deploys ADM onto individuals on the basis of their personal data. In the design stage of the intended ADM, article 35 (3)(a) obliges a controller to apply a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), part of which is an assessment of ADM’s impact on individual rights and freedoms. Article 22 GDPR determines under what conditions ADM is allowed and endows data subjects with increased protection.
Research among companies of various sizes has shown that there is (legal) insecurity about the interpretation of the GDPR (including the provisions relevant to ADM). The first objective of the author is to detect ways forward by offering practical handles to execute a DPIA that includes a slidable assessment of impacts on data subjects’ fundamental rights. This assessment is based on four benchmarks that should help to assess the gravity of potential impacts, i.e. i) to determine the impact on the fundamental right(s) at stake, ii) to establish the context in which the ADM is used, iii) the establishment of who is beneficiary of the use of personal data in the ADM and iv) the establishment who is in control over the data flows in the ADM. From the benchmarks an overall fundamental rights impact assessment about ADM should arise. A second objective is to indicate potential factors and measures that a controller should consider in its risk management after the assessment. The proposed approach should help fostering fair, compliant and trustworthy ADM and contains directions for future research.
Keywords: automated decision-making, fundamental rights, impact assessment, horizontal relations
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