Artificial intelligence technology AI

Italy: AI-using Trento city fined over data protection rules violations

Italy’s Data Protection Authority, the GPDP, has imposed a 50,000 euro ($54,000) fine on the city of Trento for breaking data protection rules with its use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

Reuters reported that the authorities fined the city for using AI in street surveillance projects. Trento, the first city in Italy fined for AI misuse, integrated an AI-powered facial recognition system in two European Union-funded surveillance projects.

Following an in-depth investigation, the GPDP watchdogs said Trento committed “multiple violations of privacy regulations.” It revealed that although “the data collected was not sufficiently anonymous,” it was wrongly shared with third parties.

Despite the findings of the GPDP, Trento officials are considering appealing the watchdog’s decision.

“The decision by the regulator highlights how the current legislation is totally insufficient to regulate the use of AI to analyse large amounts of data and improve city security,” said city officials in a statement.

In November 2023, the GPDP conducted a “fact-finding investigation” on public and private websites to determine whether they are taking adequate measures to prevent AI platforms from collecting personal data.

Governments looking comprehensive regulations for AI

Within days of assuming the G7 Presidency, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
confirmed that the country would pursue a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI. At the fore of the plan is the convention of an AI-focused meeting between regulators and AI developers to brainstorm an ideal approach.

Italy’s plan is to establish global standards for AI in the workplace, ethical principles, consumer privacy, integration with emerging technologies, and protection of creators’ intellectual properties (IPs).

“I am hugely concerned about the impact of AI on the labor market,” said Meloni. “Today we are faced with a revolution where human intellect is in danger of being replaced.”

In Europe, the EU AI Act places a blanket ban on predictive policing systems and emotion recognition systems. However, real-time biometric identification systems may be used after seeking permission from the courts to prosecute serious offenses.

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