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Data Ethics Commission



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Experts from the IT industry react critically to the final report of the Data Ethics Commission and warn against a general suspicion against algorithms. After the data ethics committee has made proposals for stronger regulation of algorithms, associations from the digital economy react critically. The Bitkom warns of “Regulierungswut”, the Association of Internet Economy Eco fears a “digitization brake”. Both associations respond with their own ideas. The Data Ethics Committee had proposed a Europe-wide algorithmic regulation, which should include a labeling requirement for the use of algorithms and certain regulations depending on the dangers of the algorithms. Here, the Commission has gone beyond the target, commented on the Bitkom.

“Regulatory fantasies such as a new general European Algorithm Regulation (EUVAS) could become a real digitization brake because algorithms are the basis of digital transformation,” says eco CEO Oliver Sume, according to a press release. Although the question of ethical standards and guidelines for action should be taken very seriously, there are no requirements and labeling requirements. Instead of over-regulation, Eco wishes for an ethical discourse, referring to its guidelines on how to deal with AI. Algorithms are part of everyday life and the basis of digitization, said Bitkom President Achim Berg, according to a press release. “The very least of them carry the risk of discrimination or danger to life and limb.” Therefore, it is neither necessary nor practicable to carry out a risk assessment for each individual algorithm. Instead of prohibitions, a basic understanding of algorithms is needed. That is why Bitkom has published the brochure “Blick in die Blackbox” .

Mellower tones the Bitkom proposes with regard to the proposals for data access. More open data initiatives are desirable, a duty for companies to provide data should be rejected. Such a duty was not required by the Data Ethics Commission.

The Data Ethics Commission is created by 16 experts from the fields of medicine, law, computer science, statistics, economics, theology, ethics, and journalism. The commission’s spokespersons are Dr. Christiane Woopen, professor of medical ethics at the University of Cologne, and Dr. Christiane Wendehorst, professor of civil law at the University of Vienna.

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