Privacy Commissioner hopes users will 'pause and reflect' before adopting AI

Privacy Commissioner hopes users will 'pause and reflect' before adopting AI

Regulators remind users that old laws apply to new technologies.

Michael Webster (Privacy Commissioner)

Michael Webster (Privacy Commissioner)

Credit: Supplied

Regulators meeting at last week’s Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum in Mexico are seeking greater scrutiny of AI and its impacts on privacy.

"By working together, regulators can more effectively hold organisations operating across country borders accountable within the requirements of the existing law," New Zealand Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster said.

"This will encourage potential users of AI to pause and reflect before they adopt new or evolving technologies."

This would also provide policy makers with more space to determine whether and what kind of new regulation may be required to help make sure AI was "safe to use and used safely".

Webster said working together allowed regulators to take a united stance.

"It means we can make sure privacy rights are protected when it comes to the expected adoption of AI across much of society," he said.

Assembled privacy regulators put tech companies and organisations using such new technologies on notice.

"Just because this is an evolving technology doesn't mean existing privacy laws don’t apply to it. They do," Webster said. 

"Our own law in New Zealand is technology neutral, which means our Act adapts to developments in technology. AI users and developers need to make sure they are compliant with privacy law."

People who suffer harm because their personal information has been used by AI technology in ways that breach New Zealand's privacy law should complain to the commissioner in the usual way.

The impact of AI has repidly emerged as a key issue for regulators such as the Privacy Commissioner.

Late last month, Webster outlined his expectations around New Zealand organisations using generative artificial intelligence (AI).

He also issued seven points of advice to help organisations engage with the potential of AI in a way that respected people’s privacy.

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Tags privacyprivacy commissionerAIartificial intelligence



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