Left Menu
Development News Edition

INTERVIEW-No secret safe in age of AI, says French digital envoy

Reuters | Paris | Updated: 13-06-2019 19:52 IST | Created: 13-06-2019 19:44 IST
INTERVIEW-No secret safe in age of AI, says French digital envoy
Image Credit: Max Pixel

Be it illness or an affair, your secret may no longer be safe as artificial intelligence gives government and business the power to crawl over personal data, France's digital envoy said on Thursday.

Information gleaned from everyday communications could then be used to exclude people from jobs, deny them insurance or curtail a myriad of freedoms, said Henri Verdier, France's top digital specialist, calling for stronger privacy rules. He said the predictive powers of AI could mean deep trouble if information - a hastily written tweet or even a holiday booking - was used to divine an individual's future profile.

"We might not employ or insure someone because they risk depression, or a country might use predictions about your sexual orientation against you," Verdier said. "AI is going to change the rules of the game because I can take a lot of data, educate a machine and then use it to know many things about you," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of Rights Con, a digital conference in Tunis.

The European Union's biggest shake-up of data privacy laws in more than two decades came into force a year ago, giving people more control over their online information and authorities the power to impose hefty fines. But the laws do not go far enough, Verdier said, urging the EU to curb companies' and governments' predictive powers.

Plus it is already too late to simply switch off social media and hope your private life will stay that way. Research published in January found that social media platforms such as Twitter can be used to glean information about the preferences of former users by monitoring as few as eight of their one-time contacts.

Verdier cited studies that show bank data can predict a divorce two years before it happens. A 2017 study found that advertisers are able to deduce the sexuality of a Facebook user based on as little as three likes. "We live in data, we share it everywhere. I think we need to think about what are the things we shouldn't be allowed to predict about people" he said. "There is a historic precedent. In credit scoring, there are certain pieces of information you are not allowed to use. For example, in France, it is forbidden to use information about a person's religion to predict their credit score."

Citizens are generally unaware of the importance of guarding their data, Verdier said, which he attributed to the complex and opaque nature of privacy rules. "There is a famous French play called 'Cyrano de Bergerac' ... there are more words in the terms and conditions of Amazon than there are in that play," he explained.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Education post-coronavirus: Schools to rush for more digitalization

Digital education would undoubtedly boom in the post-coronavirus world, supported by educational institutions that have discovered its efficiency during the crisis, but it is still not expected to outshine traditional classroom learning....

Public health care post-COVID 19 to go for revamping, not rebooting

Until now, the economies used to classify healthcare sector under social expenditure. However, the devastation caused by COVID 19 pandemic has upgraded public healthcare on topmost priority and core economic activity for controlling future ...

Coronavirus lockdowns to speed up long-pending revamping of supply chains

With millions of production lines impacted, business disruptions to some extent are unavoidable and the lessons learned from this turbulence will leave an everlasting impact on both global and local levels of supply chains....

COVID 19 to catalyze the redefinition of urban planning and sustainability

Until now the urban planning was focused on mitigation to natural disastrous, climate change, pollution, chronic illness and lifestyle diseases. However, the global pandemic of novel coronavirus is going to change the whole narrative of urb...

Videos

Latest News

HIGHLIGHTS AT 2300 HRS

Following are the top stories at 2300 hrs Top stories DEL111 LDALL LOCKDOWN-MIGRANTS Migrant labourers in time of corona Jobless, homeless and miles to go to return home New Delhi Some are finding their own villages in Bihar blockin...

More coronavirus cases in Libya as fighting rages

Artillery blasts shook Libyas capital Tripoli on Sunday as fighting raged even as the nation confirmed five more cases of the coronavirus for a total of eight. The National Centre for Disease Control said the new cases were in the northwest...

Nepal extends lockdown till April 7

The Nepal government on Sunday extended the nationwide lockdown by a week till April 7 to check the spread of coronavirus which has claimed over 31,000 lives across the world so far. In a meeting at the Prime Ministers official residence in...

Nigeria tightens offshore oil rules after vessel workers get coronavirus

Nigerias petroleum regulator has ordered oil and gas companies to reduce their offshore workforce and move to 28-day staff rotations as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to a circular seen by Reuters.The rest...

Give Feedback