ICO appoints expert to study impact of AI on data privacy

DataIQ News

The Information Commissioner’s Office is stepping up its quest to investigate the effects of new technologies on data privacy by appointing its first Postdoctoral Research Fellow in artificial intelligence.

Dr Reuben Binns, a researcher in Computer Science at the University of Oxford, is joining the ICO on a fixed term fellowship. During his two-year tenure, he will research and investigate a framework for auditing algorithms and conduct further in-depth research activities in AI and machine learning.

With a BA and MSc in Philosophy from University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Computer Science & Law from the University of Southampton, Dr Binns has previously worked as an advisor on personal data and algorithmic decision-making for organisations in the public and private sector, including the European Commission.

His recent work has focused on the transparency of third-party tracking on the web, mobile and Internet-of-Things devices; and exploring legal, technical and human-computer interaction challenges relating to transparency, fairness and accountability in machine learning.

Dr Binns said: “I am honoured to be joining the ICO as its first Postdoctoral Research Fellow. AI is fast moving and increasingly important in relation to personal data, and I’m looking forward to developing and enhancing expertise at the ICO in this area.”

ICO executive director for technology, policy and innovation Simon McDougall said: "Artificial intelligence is an exciting area that has great potential. However, like all new technologies, it also has the potential to be misused, and there is understandable anxiety amongst the public around how decisions using AI are being made. The ICO is committed to remaining engaged with emerging technologies, and Reuben’s work will deepen our understanding of this complex area.”