back to article UK data guardian challenges government proposals on automated decision-making

The UK's National Data Guardian (NDG) has warned the government against watering down individuals' rights to challenge decisions made about them by artificial intelligence. The independent healthcare data rights watchdog also said the government's consultation on changes to data protection law following the UK's departure from …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Article 22

    Catch-22. It's the best there is.

    (c) Joseph Heller

  2. pavel.petrman

    Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

    I hope someone paused to think whether efficiency of decision making is the right thing to strive for in regard to healthcare.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

      @pavel.petrman

      "right thing to strive for in regard to healthcare."

      Considering the state of UK healthcare a bit more efficiency might be a step in the right direction.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

        It's more efficient to let people die at birth, as this results in tremendous savings in time, effort and money for the NHS over the next 80 or so years.

        Maybe efficiency isn't the only metric.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

          possibly the metric should be selfish cunts are left to die, as that is what they want for the rest of us!.

          you know who you are.....

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

          @Cederic

          "Maybe efficiency isn't the only metric."

          True. But seeing patients more timely would be useful. Filtering A&E could be useful, although that would require GP's to see patients.

          As for letting people die at birth, it would cut their source of funding considerably :D

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

            Yes, but that requires more doctors, not just AI. The AI can't really do much about hurrying appointments, if there are no doctors available to see patients.

            My mum needed a new hip, she spent 2 years on the doctor's "not a waiting list", before she landed on his waiting list for 18 months, before she could see a specialist... Because the doctor wasn't allowed to have people on the waiting list for more than 2 years.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

              @big_D

              "Yes, but that requires more doctors, not just AI."

              True. Taxing them into retirement was a bad idea but also it makes you wonder where the money went that keeps getting spaffed on the NHS.

              1. Roj Blake

                Re: makes you wonder where the money went that keeps getting spaffed on the NHS.

                Management consultants and well-connected pub landlords

      2. pavel.petrman

        Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

        @codejunky no contest to efficiency in health care in general, I specifically meant the named efficiency in decision making. I would consider efficient decision making regarding health care a dangerous thing even if not administered by AI.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Elements of healthcare become more efficiently managed through AI

      "As elements of healthcare become more e̶f̶f̶i̶c̶i̶e̶n̶t̶l̶y̶ cheaply managed through AI."

      I think that reads a little more accurately, caring about the human nature of the data seems to be regarded as obstructive and unimportant.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There is no specific end date to the adequacy decision

    I think the present government genuinely believes that the EU care as little about the rules as they do and the worst they will suffer will be some kind of temporary performative objection that will be waived if we tell them about our lovable porcine cartoon characters.

  4. Slx

    Even if the European Commission and the EU Council and European Parliament chose to somehow all sit on their hands, there’s a *very* strong likelihood of individual citizens taking a challenge to court and an ECJ ruling eventually rendering processing of EU citizens data in the U.K. highly problematic, if not impossible.

    People seem to imagine the EU operates like a US presidency or a U.K. national government with broad executive powers being exercised by a single party or individual. It does not. It’s all about decentralised powers, subsidiary, finding consensus etc.

    It would be extremely naïve to assume this will just bump along as if nothing happened or that some diplomatic nods and winks by HM Gov can smooth it all over and make it go away.

    GDPR is actually very popular amongst European citizens too. There’s strong political support for it and a sensitivity about data snooping in many countries that have a much clearer understanding of why it’s a risk due to their own 20 th century histories. A lot of people are very protective of the concept of a right to privacy.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      People may believe that. The prime movers behind Brexit knew otherwise. They didn't like the idea of not being above the law..

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Where the rot started

      The framers of the adequacy decision actually started the rot, when they set the requirement for transparency (paragraph 49) as "Data subjects should be informed of the main features of the processing of their personal data." [emphasis added]. The GDPR actually requires full and complete details of processing to be provided.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

    I said right along that this sort of thing would rapidly follow Brexit, and the family said I was being melodramtic.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

      I really wish you were wrong too, and I had hoped the Government wouldn't be stupid enough to jeopardise adequacy due to the economic damage that's going to happen.

      To be fair I also hoped the Government would respect the people of the UK but as with ID cards, ubiquitous surveillance, freedom of speech and several other areas, the Government prefers a more authoritarian approach that also allows businesses to run rampant over peoples' rights.

      We used to be trend settings in consumer law, now we're following China's lead. It's concerning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

        as with ID cards, ubiquitous surveillance, freedom of speech and several other areas, the Government prefers a more authoritarian approach

        The UK is one of the few countries in Europe that doesn't have ID cards. It hasn't started planning compulsory COVID vaccination either.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

          'ID Cards' - one of those labels, like 'cancer', where everyone thinks they know what it means.

          But the meaning only becomes apparent when we take the trouble to look at the specific case.

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

          The UK has many people demanding ID cards, including many senior politicians.

          The UK also has "COVID passports" which are a slippery slope towards ID cards, and also towards Chinese style social scoring.

          The UK does have compulsory COVID vaccination if you want certain jobs already.

          We're one bad election away from full on authoritarian Government. Look how close Corbyn got!

          1. Adair Silver badge

            Re: One ocassion where I really REALLY wish I was wrong

            On the other hand, why not just say, "Fuck the rules, let's all do what the hell we like, when we like, and sod the consequences!".

            So, no need for a Driver's Licence, just get behind the wheel and go for it - who needs rules anyway?

            Vaccinations of any kind before working with patients in a hospital? Pah, for braindead weaklings! Infect who you want; get infected by whatever happens to be passing - they die/I die, or we stagger on in broken health misery for years? Who cares, freedom man!

            Gun licences, product safety regulations, professional exams - all time wasting, money leaching, establishment reinforcing nonsense!

            Yeah, we're just one vote a way from a totalitarian tyranny, because the rules are there to make sure that happens.

          2. Roj Blake

            Re: Look how close Corbyn got!

            I don't recall Corbyn calling for an end to whistle-blower protection if what's being revealed embarrasses the government, or for a ban on demonstrations that the Home Secretary deems to be annoying.

            It's not Corbyn who's responsible for the cuts to the legal aid budget.

            It's not Corbyn who unilaterally decided that it's possible to strip a British citizen of their nationality.

            For that level of authoritarianism you need only look at the current cabinet.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: Look how close Corbyn got!

              Well, quite, and that's the point I've been making. Look how bad it is now, even when he didn't get in.

              Unless you're in Scotland, in which case you're already in trouble. A corrupt Government imposing social credit restraints and demanding children report their parents for supposed hate speech in the home.

              Things aren't good and can get much much worse, which is why vigilance and action are required. It's why I helped set up the Open Rights Group and continue to financially support it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    English, not UK, National Data Guardian

    > UK's National Data Guardian (NDG)

    Except she's not the UK National Data Guardian, she's the English National Data Guardian - she appears to have no responsibilities regarding Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-data-guardian/about

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    the UK would continue to align with the GDPR and that Britain would set a "gold standard" in data regulation, "but do so in a way that is as light touch as possible."

    Translation: "We'll pay gold-plated lip-service to GDPR"

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Doctor Syntax

      "Translation: "We'll pay gold-plated lip-service to GDPR""

      Works for the US

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: @Doctor Syntax

        Obviously not, considering Shrems I and Shrems II both got the data protection treaties with the US annulled, because the US demonstrably didn't take it seriously, which is why it is very hard to balance moving to the cloud, if you are using AWS, Azure, M365, Google WS etc. because they have been declared non-GDPR compliant in many countries.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @Doctor Syntax

          @big_D

          "because the US demonstrably didn't take it seriously,"

          That is pretty spot on for the reason but of course it goes on and on with the same treaty being replaced with about the same level of compliance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "but do so in a way that is as light touch as possible."

      Translation: ICO will take no action against anyone breaking GDPR as they do not have the "regulatory appetite" (a phrase actually used by a ICO Case Officer).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where's the 'Chocolate Fireguard' Icon when you need it ?

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Is it though...?

    Is it AI though... or just a refined set of scripted questions with no more complex logic to it than a choose your own adventure book? I.e. IF this, THEN that...

    All designed to hit quotas and massage KPI figures than to provide any real public service.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Well said Amberhawk!

    '"The consultation is largely drafted from a position where the controller becomes entitled to process the data subject's personal data without consideration of how the data subject's wishes or interests are protected."'

    I came to the same conclusion. Completing a robust response to the 170 loaded questions that pointed out the inadmissibility of this position took 20 days and it finally ran to over 25,000 words. I wonder if they'll read it.

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Nothing to see here ...

    Actually, it wasn't the Government but the AI system that decided to share all your data with a massive multi-national in return for a huge fee paid in a brown crypto-envelope and a peerage for Malcolm, so I'm afraid you can't sue us...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Computer says no... end of!

    > the need "to provide human review [of AI decisions] may, in future, not be practicable or proportionate."

    E.g. for trivial things like motoring offences.

    So for example you wouldn't ever get a fine for being in a bus lane because the AI mistook a logo on someone's top for your reg number, no, couldn't ever happen.

    Anyway HMG won't be wasting valuable AI time on things like that. It'll be used to decide if you're entitled to benefits, or asylum, or whether your tax avoidance scheme is actually a tax evasion scheme, or how much HS2 compensation for knocking your house down (or not). Don't want pesky lawyers dragging things out and costing the Government money.

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