Goce Arsovski, Metamorphosis Foundation, photo: print screen

The level of awareness of citizens, civil society, media, academia, but also the states themselves about Automated Decision Making (ADO) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems is low and needs to change as these systems continue to influence the welfare of citizens. CSOs should work together and with government authorities to discuss the benefits and risks of these systems.

This was said, among other things, at the session “Algorithms, privacy and security. Let’s talk human rights”, within the 17th International Conference “e-Society.mk” organized by the Metamorphosis Foundation, which was addressed by representatives of civil society and legal experts from RNM, Europe and America.

“When it comes to the use of ADO and AI, especially ADO in official state use, CSOs are largely silent about the risks, benefits and side effects that this process can bring. This can be due to various reasons, such as lack of professional technical knowledge for checking algorithms, lack human and financial resources, and perhaps a general feeling that this topic is “very technical” and that it belongs to a very small number on stakeholders, but there may also be a sense of inadequacy to comment on the latest developments and trends,” said Goce Arsovski from the Metamorphosis Foundation.

CSOs can help raise awareness of the use of automated decision-making systems or artificial intelligence.

“I agree that the level of public awareness about ADO is not at the right level. Donor organizations can help because we work with more closed communities at the local level and they can help by offering explanations to the public about the purpose of using ADO. They can provide research grants in this area, just as governments must provide certain funding from the budget,” said Olga Kyryliuk technical program manager at the American Bar Association.

Orsolya Vincze, a legal expert at K-Monitoring in Hungary, said government officials were unfamiliar with the process and that associations were not involved.

“Artificial intelligence is basically not known as a topic for civil society organizations, we are an anti-corruption organization and then we got involved in this area. We have an artificial intelligence (AI) coalition and some are part of it, but we also have an ethics group working on legislation on how to regulate algorithms. When it comes to ADO regulations, we are a little late. What we have learned from our study is that state officials are not aware of the process.” – said Vincze.

Krzysztof Izdebski, from the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland, spoke about the electronic court case allocation system in Poland, which is similar to the ACMIS system used in RNM for court cases distribution.

“I tried to get the algorithm of the system from the Ministry of Justice, initially they did not give it, but then we got the case and now the algorithm is published on the website of the Ministry of Justice. People thought that this was not an open system and that it might be a manipulative system. It was important for us experts to show them that the implementation of ADO has an impact on the rights and obligations of citizens. So, every decision-making, including ADO, must be transparent,”- Izdebski stressed.

All panellists agreed that CSOs, regardless of their field of action, should be involved in discussions on this issue.

Meanwhile, yesterday was held the second day of this year’s conference “e-Society.mk” which will last 4 days.

Today, on the third day of the conference, two trainings will be held on topics related to cyber security and privacy. The first training from 12 o’clock will be on the topic of Cyber ​​Security – common myths and the trainer will be Goce Arsovski.

“It seems that the ever-expanding digital world does not take into account the level of digital literacy and experience of computer systems users. In addition, disinformation campaigns, which are often used in politics, have their own “cyber-branch” when it comes to Internet security and privacy. This training will focus on common myths and disinformation about common cyber security threats and will try to offer solutions to them,” the announcement said.

Today’s second training is on “How to build a strong and sustainable privacy system”, and the trainer will be Elena Stojanovska.

The announcement says:

Personal Data Protection or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a commonly used term for a long time, but many ignore or do not understand its value. This training will explore the current Law on Personal Data Protection and Mechanisms in North Macedonia from the perspective of CSOs and citizens. CSOs will be offered knowledge and support for their full compliance with the obligations set by the Law. As for the citizens, this training will help them understand the Law and the power of (mis)use of their personal data by other entities, but also the dangers of sharing other people’s personal data without prior consent.

Anyone interested can follow the trainings by joining the Zoom link for the event or via the live broadcast on the Facebook page of the Metamorphosis Foundation.