Homo Digitalis signs the Toronto Declaration: Protection of the rights to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems
In May 2018, Homo Digitalis signed the Toronto Declaration on the protection of the rights to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems. This Declaration is an initiative by the international non-governmental organizations Access Now and Amnesty International and has been adopted by many other prominent international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Wikimedia Foundation.
Machine learning systems may be used in various sectors, such as health, social welfare, education or police surveillance. Their use offers unlimited opportunities, but also many challenges. This declaration aims at establishing values in the international plane, which will safeguard the protection of the rights to equality and non-discrimination during the use of machine learning systems.
The data on which a machine learning system bases its analysis, may be biased. Therefore, the results or the decisions of this system will also be biased and partial. The use of new technologies of any nature should aim at eliminating discrimination and inequality and not their perpetuation or their expansion.
Signing this Declaration, Homo Digitalis recognizes the necessity to establish values in the international plane, which will safeguard the principle of equality and equal treatment during machine learning use.
We must also note that machine learning systems are linked to important challenges not only for the rights of equality and non-discriminatory treatment, but also for a series of other human rights, such as equity before the law, the right to privacy, the protection of personal data, freedom of expression and information, children’s rights and the right to fair trial.
The citizens of the EU Member States enjoy the highest level of protection of human rights globally. The provisions of the EU Fundamental Rights Chapter, as well as the jurisprudence of the Court of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, establish a legal context with high level safeguards.
This context should be globally extended, so that new technologies serve our legal and ethical values and not assist the ones who aspire for their infringement.