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World-first ‘accountability principles’ to help safeguard use of AI in policing

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10 March 2022

World-first ‘accountability principles’ to help safeguard use of AI in policing

Sheffield Hallam researchers are working with international partners to create world-first ‘accountability principles’, to help guide the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by policing and security agencies, as well as judiciaries

Press contact: Jo Beattie | j.beattie@shu.ac.uk

A team from the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC) at Sheffield Hallam are working with Europol (the law enforcement agency of the EU) on the AP4AI (Accountability Principles for AI) Project.

 

Through assessing existing practice, interviewing international legal, ethical, security and industry experts, and consulting the wider public across 30 countries, the project will create an AI Accountability Framework that includes suggested key principles.

 

The adoption of these principles will allow police and security forces to capitalise on the use of AI in combatting serious crime, whilst providing balance and accountability for regulators and society at large.

 

The use of AI within policing is becoming increasingly important as serious organised crime conduct more of their activities through online and digital platforms. New AI technologies make it possible to process large volumes of data to identify patterns and make connections that were not humanly possible before. For example, AI models can help pre-emptively detect cyber-attacks or identify large-scale fraud. AI tools can also increase the speed, accuracy, and range of investigations into the sharing of child sexual exploitation content.

 

However, there is a need to maintain a healthy balance between the use of innovative AI practices and ensuring that any activity is proportionate and ethical. By developing key accountability principles, the AP4AI Project will help policing and security agencies ensure that their use of AI is sustainable, accountable and ethical.

 

Professor Babak Akhgar, Director of CENTRIC, said: “The use of AI in assisting police and security agencies is becoming more and more important. As criminal activity becomes increasingly reliant on digital platforms, advances in technology mean that there are innovative new ways to process vast amounts of data to help detect serious crime.

 

“However, the international security community is well aware that the use of AI must be proportionate, ethical and ensures a level of accountability. It is vital that the societies which agencies protect and serve have confidence in the way AI is utilised.  

 

“With this in mind, the AP4AI Project will draw upon a huge range of expertise and research to develop world-first accountability principles. Police and security agencies across the globe will be able to adopt a robust AI Accountability Framework, so that they can maintain a balanced, proportionate and accountable approach.”

 

Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol said: “I am confident that the AP4AI Project will offer invaluable practical support to law enforcement, criminal justice and other security practitioners seeking to develop innovative AI solutions, while respecting fundamental rights and being fully accountable to citizens.”

 

The AP4AI Project has conducted a large citizen consultation with over 6,000 citizens in 30 countries. First results of the consultation are published in AP4AI Framework Blueprint.

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