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Aphaia is a guest speaker in the webinar event on smart cities organised by the Queen Mary University of London

Aphaia is a guest speaker in the webinar event on smart cities organised by the Queen Mary University of London

Aphaia delivered a presentation on AI and data protection at the webinar event on smart cities organised by the QMUL CCLS Association.


Aphaia was invited as a guest speaker in a Focus Group Discussion on the Implementation of Human Rights and Civil Rights in Smart Cities to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals, organised by the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCL), Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), held on Thursday 16th February 2023.


The program and the speakers


Organised by the CCLS Joint Chapter Event (Indonesia, Spain, United Kingdom), the focus group brought together experts from these three countries who had the chance to discuss together the role of smart cities in the fulfilment of human and civil rights from a number of different perspectives, including the links with the right to information, the right to education and the right to housing, the impact on mental health and the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics and data protection.


The webinar was conceived as part of CCLS contribution to society, in particular to educate and raise awareness among people as well as provide recommendations to law and policymakers.


The presentations consisted of the following topics:

  • Examination of Human Rights and Civil Rights in Smart City to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Digital Rights in Smart Cities, A Data Protection and AI Perspective from Spain;
  • The Legal Regime in the UK and Readiness for Human Rights Law in Digitalization in a Smart City Context and
  • The World of Mental Health in Smart Cities.


AI ethics and data protection in smart cities


The large amount of personal data collected and generated by smart cities may pose significant challenges derived from elements such as data sharing, cloud security, profiling or secondary uses of the data, among others. If not adequately addressed, these challenges may result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of the citizens. The use of AI may also trigger some issues that both public and private entities developing these technologies in smart cities should deal with before implementing them, namely aspects related to discrimination, transparency and automated decision making.


Consequently, human rights like the respect of human dignity, freedom of individual, respect for democracy, justice and the rule of law, equality, non-discrimination and solidarity, privacy and right to work might been impacted, therefore avoiding any negative outcomes in this regard should be set as one of the main priorities of smart cities.


The role of the GDPR and the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI


The GDPR establishes the general obligations that controllers and processors should comply with in order to ensure that the personal data they process is adequately protected and that the data subjects can effectively exercise their rights over their personal data. A proper implementation of the principles, measures and obligations defined by the GDPR is paramount as a first step to guarantee respect for human and civil rights in smart cities. Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) should be used to evaluate the risks and identify mitigation measures.


When it comes to AI ethics, whereas the EU AI Act is still a proposal, the EU Commission Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI define seven key requirements that AI systems should meet in order to be deemed trustworthy. The implementation of these principles would also help to develop human-centric AI with a clear goal of improving human welfare and freedom while handling the risks appropriately and proportionately.

Does your company have all of the mandated safeguards in place to ensure the safety of the personal data you collect or process? Aphaia can help. Aphaia also provides both GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. We can help your company get on track towards full compliance. Contact us today.

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