Automated Decision-Making as a Data Protection Issue

23 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021

See all articles by Marco Almada

Marco Almada

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)

Date Written: January 30, 2021


Artificial intelligence techniques have been used to automate various procedures in modern life, ranging from ludic applications to substantial decisions about the lives of individuals and groups. Given the variety of automat-ed decision-making applications and the different forms in which decisions may harm humans, the law has struggled to provide adequate responses to automation. This paper examines the role of a specific branch of law — data protection law — in the regulation of artificial intelligence. Data protection law is applicable to automation scenarios which rely on data about natural persons, and it seeks to address risks to these persons through three approaches: allowing persons to exercise rights against specific automated decisions, disclosing information about the decision-making systems and imposing design requirements for those systems. By exploring the potentials and limits of such approaches, this paper presents a portrait of the relevance of data protection law for regulating AI.

Keywords: automated decision-making, GDPR, data protection by design, explanation

Suggested Citation

Almada, Marco, Automated Decision-Making as a Data Protection Issue (January 30, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Marco Almada (Contact Author)

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze

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