[Air-L] Internet Governance Forum IGF2017 workshop proposal

Ansgar Koene Ansgar.Koene at nottingham.ac.uk
Mon Apr 24 03:28:27 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,
  I am preparing a proposal for a roundtable discussion at the IGF2017 meeting in Geneva (December 18-21) on the topic of “(self) regulation of algorithmic systems that control online information access”. The draft abstract is at the end of the email.
In keeping with the multi-stakeholder nature of the topic, and the IGF, I would like to ask for some suggestions regarding key people to invite to participate in the roundtable discussion.
I would like a representative for each of the following, preferably also including cultural diversity:

-  Regulatory organization, e.g. data protection authorities
-  Civil-society group, e.g. Internet Society
-  Industry group
-  Professional association, e.g. IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in AI and Autonomous Systems
-  Academia

Please feel free to disagree with the example organizations and suggest a better alternative. Did I forget an important group?

Thank you very much for your suggestions,

--- Roundtable proposal abstract --

The increasing prevalence of online service personalization to optimizing search results, news and product recommendations and even political messaging has led to growing concerns regarding responsible implementation and management of these systems.

Algorithmic decision processes relying on high-dimensional profiles that are derived from personal data, possibly involving machine learning methods, pose difficult challenges for providing meaningful transparency and guarantees of reliably fair performance.

In recognition of these issues, various professional bodies, academics and regulatory organizations have recently started investigating this space, looking at causes/remedies against unjustified bias/disparate impact, means of establishing accountability, safeguarding privacy and exploring means for providing meaningful transparency/explanation of automated decision making.

Proposed methods for addressing these issues include industry self-regulation, establishing of Standards, voluntary certification and government oversight (e.g. “an FDA for algorithms”). A recurring theme in many of these proposals is the need for trusted third-party experts to be involved in the evaluation process as means of establishing trust and protecting intellectual property.

Given the cross-boarded nature of services provisions via the Internet this raises questions about jurisdiction. To maintain a free, open and trusted Internet where services are not restricted by nation or region, certification of algorithmic internet services will need international multi-stakeholder coordination.

Some of the questions we will explore in this roundtable include: Can this be solved by self-certification based on international standards, as currently under development at the IEEE? Are efforts by industry groups, like the Partnership on AI, going to be enough to satisfy and retain the trust of peoples and governments? Is there a place/need to establish an international expert oversight body to provide trusted-third party certification?


Dr. Ansgar Koene
Senior Research Fellow: Horizon Policy Impact, CaSMa & UnBias
Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute
University of Nottingham

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