This time, #PlastreamCoffee resulted in an insightful conversation about information privacy and the impact of GDPR on AI and data collection. Aazar Ali Shad, the Co-founder at ECOMPLY.io who helps companies to become GDPR compliant, was there to answer our questions.

How can AI and GPDR work together?

They not only can, but have to work together. Online tracking, profiling and targeting users are a part of AI solutions, and GDPR is finally here to make the data processing more transparent for everyone involved.

It’s important to understand that AI aims to make our lives easier. It reduces manual work or unnecessary documentation and often helps to make decisions faster. The only issue here is that it uses personal data to do so – and such data is called “personal” for a reason. Privacy is a basic human right, and certain regulations are needed in order to protect it. And GDPR is one of them.       

GDPR sets the standard for all companies, in which transparency and user privacy are non-negotiable. Because of that, additional consent and proper explanations of how any system using AI-based decisions and data processing works have to be in place. Although it worries many companies, it’s definitely possible to bring those systems in line with GDPR principles.

What does each company need to do to meet GDPR requirements?

There are different principles that come with GDPR. Users have now the right to access their personal data, stay informed on how that data is being used, object or restrict its processing, as well as make the system forget their personal information. And as a company, you have to enable all users to exercise all those rights, collect individual consent at the very beginning, provide an opportunity to unsubscribe at any time and make sure that the data in question is actually erased from your system.

In order to become GDPR compliant, though, certain formalities have to be completed. This checklist should help you understand what has to be done to meet GDPR requirements.

How do you assess the current behaviour of people regarding the protection of their own data?

Many users are not sure how their data is being processed, and frankly – they pay too little attention to it. Although new regulations increase their knowledge about data privacy and trust towards the companies (at least those which are GDPR compliant), there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

Is it possible that humanity will soon fall into panic related to the security of personal data?

It is, although until it actually affects us personally, we don’t really care about privacy that much. Whenever something big happens, some sort of a scandal – it then makes us think about the use of personal data around us. It shouldn’t work like this, though. You should be on top of the information you share online, always.

In which direction will AI go?

There are interesting things in store for us, that’s for sure. Autonomous cars and trains, automated labour and home automation – I believe they will all allow us to focus more on ourselves and our self-development. In my opinion, we will save more time not doing basic day-to-day tasks and thus, will be able to live a more meaningful life.    

How do you see the world of personal data in 10 years?

GDPR makes us understand how our personal data is being processed and what issues there are if we share our personal information without thinking of the consequences. That’s definitely a good lesson for the future. Data security, especially in the IT industry, is now more eagerly discussed than ever, which actually forces companies to take action and protect collected data. And it definitely won’t stop here. In some cases, you are already able to choose the “amount of data” you share, and with whom you do it – take social media, for example.

The future will be more privacy-focused, and I can’t wait to see what it brings to all of us.

 

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