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Artificial intelligence and privacy issues paper

There is little doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic, and increasingly so with every new AI technology or application that makes its debut into the world.

For the most part, the public’s interaction or experience with AI occurs in the private sphere – think Netflix or your smartphone’s virtual personal assistant. However, AI applications and developments are also being used in, and to the benefit of, the public sector. Not only does AI have the potential to enhance efficiencies across government, but it also provides governments with the ability to deliver services in a whole new way.

Although AI presents a valuable opportunity for government, there are, inevitably, challenges. One such challenge is the impact of AI on information privacy. AI brings into question an individual’s right to decide for themselves when, how, and to what extent their information is collected, used, or shared with others. This is, and continues to be, a crucial issue that government will have an important role to play in addressing, particularly given its role in developing the regulations and policies that will shape how AI impacts citizens’ lives.

As the independent regulator charged with protecting information privacy rights in Victoria, OVIC aims to keep abreast of developments and technologies that have implications for individuals’ privacy, such as AI.

To that end, we have produced an issues paper for the Victorian public sector and general public about AI and how it intersects with information privacy. This paper aims to introduce readers to a wider conversation regarding the issues, challenges, and opportunities surrounding AI and privacy. It is written in plain English and intended for a non-technical audience.

The issues paper looks at the various terms and concepts associated with AI, and follows with an exploration of some of the key questions and considerations regarding AI and information privacy – for example, how AI challenges the traditional notion of personal information, as well as the fundamental principles that underpin many information privacy laws around the world.

Importantly, the issues paper touches on several critical questions – can AI and privacy co-exist? If so, how? And what is government’s role in this space? The paper doesn’t suggest the solutions to these questions – it is simply intended to start the conversation.

AI is now an integral part of our lives, and its role and application will only increase and intensify. This issues paper is essential reading for those wanting to inform themselves, or are simply curious, about the ways in which AI does and will continue to affect our privacy.

The full AI and Privacy issues paper is available here.

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