EU Data Protection Law vs Algorithmic Regulation: Tilting at Windmills?

Presented by ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science

Recent legal reforms under the aegis of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe have reinvigorated the European regulatory framework for protection of personal data, with the adoption of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the principal achievement of this renewal. The GDPR is aimed at ensuring that contemporary data-processing trends – including the increasing deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decisional systems – do not ride roughshod over the fundamental rights and freedoms of individual persons.

With its beefed-up sanctions regime, liberal rules for extra-territorial scope of application, and a large array of provisions for new or revamped rights and obligations, the GDPR is commonly vaunted – also in Australia – as the ‘gold standard’ globally for data protection and a key means of achieving ‘algorithmic accountability’.

Nonetheless, its legitimacy is contested, with some critics claiming, in effect, that the EU data protection regime is an arcane, elitist endeavour amounting to little more than ‘tilting at windmills’. This seminar examines the merits of such claims, particularly with regard to the GDPR’s likely impact on the design and use of automated decisional systems.

This lecture is proudly hosted by the 3A Institute.