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European Commission Press Releases

Artificial intelligence: European Commission kicks off work on marrying cutting-edge technology and ethical standards

Zoltan Tundik

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Security officer watching cloud blocks forming face in sky - Photo Credits: TechWorm.net
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Brussels, 9 March 2018 – The Commission is setting up a group on artificial intelligence to gather expert input and rally a broad alliance of diverse stakeholders.

The expert group will also draw up a proposal for guidelines on AI ethics, building on today’s statement by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies.

From better healthcare to safer transport and more sustainable farming, artificial intelligence (AI) can bring major benefits to our society and economy. And yet, questions related to the impact of AI on the future of work and existing legislation are raised. This calls for a wide, open and inclusive discussion on how to use and develop artificial intelligence both successfully and ethically sound.

Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “Step by step, we are setting up the right environment for Europe to make the most of what artificial intelligence can offer. Data, supercomputers and bold investment are essential for developing artificial intelligence, along with a broad public discussion combined with the respect of ethical principles for its take-up. As always with the use of technologies, trust is a must.”

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner in charge of Research, Science and Innovation,added: “Artificial intelligence has developed rapidly from a digital technology for insiders to a very dynamic key enabling technology with market creating potential. And yet, how do we back these technological changes with a firm ethical position? It bears down to the question, what society we want to live in. Today’s statement lays the groundwork for our reply.”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “To reap all the benefits of artificial intelligence the technology must always be used in the citizens’ interest and respect the highest ethical standards, promote European values and uphold fundamental rights. That is why we are constantly in dialogue with key stakeholders, including researchers, providers, implementers and users of this technology. Our work to build a Digital Single Market is essential for encouraging the development and take-up of new technologies.”

Today the Commission has opened applications to join an expert group in artificial intelligence which will be tasked to:

  • advise the Commission on how to build a broad and diverse community of stakeholders in a “European AI Alliance”;
  • support the implementation of the upcoming European initiative on artificial intelligence (April 2018);
  • come forward by the end of the year with draft guidelines for the ethical development and use of artificial intelligence based on the EU’s fundamental rights. In doing so, it will consider issues such as fairness, safety, transparency, the future of work, democracy and more broadly the impact on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The guidelines will be drafted following a wide consultation and building on today’s statement by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), an independent advisory body to the European Commission.

The call for applications for an expert group in artificial intelligence will end on 9 April and the Commission aims to set this group up by May. This group will gather and build on the work done by other experts which is relevant to artificial intelligence, such as the high-level strategy group for industrial technologies (intermediate report) and the expert group on liability and new technologies. For the latter a call for applications was also launched today. This expert group will assist the Commission in analysing the challenges related to the existing liability framework.

The Commission will work closely with Member States, especially through the European platform of national initiatives to digitise industry (next forum event organised in France on 27 and 28 March), with the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions as well as international organisations and fora (such as the G7). Artificial intelligence will be one of the key topics discussed as part of the Digital Day taking place in Brussels on 10 April.

Background

The Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2018-2019called for a high level of data protection, digital rights and ethical standards in artificial intelligence and robotics.

The Commission has already taken action to make optimal use of what artificial intelligence can offer, with:

The Commission will build further on this progress with a communication on artificial intelligence to be presented in the coming weeks, in line with the conclusions of the European Council of October 2017. This initiative will help stimulate investments and accelerate the development and take-up of this technology.

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IP/18/1381

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European Commission Press Releases

EGBA Welcomes EC Commitment to Improve Digital Single Market

Niji Narayan

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EGBA Welcomes EC Commitment to Improve Digital Single Market
Photo Source: emerging-europe.com
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the European Commission’s commitment to improving the digital single market.

In its work programme, the Commission announces several new initiatives aimed at strengthening the operation of the single market, particularly for digital services, and making it work more effectively for online consumers.

EGBA believes the Commission’s commitment to improving the digital single market should include a review of its approach to online gambling. With more than 16.5 million Europeans betting online, there is clearly a need for a more consistent EU policy towards this cross-border sector worth €22.2 billion and growing by 10% each year.

“EGBA welcomes the Commission’s commitment to making the single market work for online consumers. More than 16.5 million Europeans bet online but their rights are not protected by any EU rules. It is time to bring the EU’s approach to online gambling into the 21st century – the Commission should act,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said.

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European Commission Press Releases

European Commission Criticises Third German State Treaty on Gambling

Niji Narayan

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German games funding programme officially notified by the European Commission
Photo Source: aljazeera.com
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The European Commission has criticised the latest incarnation of Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling.

After the proposed legislation was submitted to the Commission in May, general director Lowri Evans has submitted a response which casts doubt on the effectiveness of the planned framework.

Evans criticised the short-term nature of the third amended State Treaty on Gambling. Evans questioned the logic of implementing the Treaty for such a short period from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.

In order to secure a licence, operators will be required to shut down any online casino offerings and offer sports betting without in-play wagering. Players will be restricted to spending €1000 per month, with a 5% turnover tax levied on licensees. These restrictions and fees are expected to slash operators’ revenue should they be fully enforced.

Evans noted that the controls to be implemented could make the market particularly unattractive for operators. With the processing of licence applications to begin from 2 January, the first working day of 2020, licences could be valid for less than 18 months.

Evans casts doubt on whether goals of the Treaty, such as increasing player protection and driving unlicensed operators from the market, could be achieved in an 18-month period. Evans also queried when the effectiveness of the Treaty would be assessed, something pledged when it was first introduced in 2012.

“The Commission emphasises the need for a continuous evaluation of the implementation and application of the State Treaty, in particular (but not limited to) sports betting. The German authorities have already committed in 2012 […] to an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the provisions relating to sports betting. Unfortunately, in view of the previous non-award of sports betting licenses, no such evaluation has yet been carried out. Therefore, the German authorities are invited to [explain] how and when an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the sports betting provisions will take place,” Evans stated.

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Compliance Updates

Europe that Protects: Stronger rules criminalising money laundering enter into force

Zoltan Tundik

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Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Europe for Citizens - Meeting of the Civil Dialogue - Date: 28/11/2018 Reference: P-038870/00-05 Location: Brussels - EC/Centre A. Borschette © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Benas Gerdziunas
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Today, the new measures to counter money laundering by criminal law enter into force across the EU. The new rules will ensure that dangerous criminals and terrorists face equally severe penalties for money laundering wherever they are in the EU, with a minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “If we want to catch criminals and terrorists, we have to follow the money. Today, we are beefing up the EU’s response to money laundering, making sure that criminals and terrorists no longer get away with illegally gained money and face deserved justice. A Europe that protects is a Europe that effectively prevents and prosecutes criminals.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “Money laundering is a key tool used by terrorists and serious criminals to obtain funding – by harmonising the crime and the punishment across the EU, we can further close down the space in which they operate. Member States now need to implement the new rules without delay.”

The Commission proposed to harmonise offences and sanctions for money laundering across the EU in December 2017. While all Member States currently criminalise money laundering the definitions of this crime as well as the penalties related to it differ across the EU, allowing criminals to effectively “window shop” and exploit the differences between national legislation.

With the new rules in force that will be no longer possible. Member States now have 24 months to implement the new rules into national law and notify the Commission accordingly.

The recent changes and all AML related topics will be highlighted during Prague Gaming Summit by the attending experts of the gambling industry in a special panel discussion. You can find more details on the following page.

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