Research event

Fundamental rights protection in the AI Act: Tracing institutional approaches, divergences and justifications in the EU legislative process

A presentation by Dr Francesca Palmiotto (Hertie School). This event is part of the Digital Governance Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Digital Governance.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses a formidable challenge to protecting fundamental rights, a concern the European Union (EU) actively addresses through regulatory initiatives like the AI Act and the AI Liability Directive. Within EU institutions, however, visions on the nature of such a challenge and the appropriate framework it should be dealt with broadly differ. This paper traces the evolution of the AI Act through the legislative process, highlighting a shift in its conceptualisation - from an initial focus on AI as a product within the internal market to an emphasis on data protection and fundamental rights protection akin to the GDPR. Examining the divergent stances taken by the European Commission, Council, and Parliament before and during trilogue negotiations, this paper delves into the nuanced differences in their approaches to fundamental rights in the context of AI regulation. Employing a process tracing methodology, a qualitative research approach, this study observes the causal processes and interactions shaping institutional perspectives. In the first part, the paper unravels each institution's distinct visions regarding the nature of the issues that AI raises and the suitable regulatory framework. In the second part, the article shows what factors contribute to the divergence in their approaches. The paper also introduces a critical inquiry into whether the protection of fundamental rights in the EU is transforming to address the emerging challenges posed by AI.

Dr. Francesca Palmiotto is a postdoctoral researcher at Hertie School's Centre for Fundamental Rights working in the project "AFAR: Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees" funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Francesca is the co-founder and editor of the blog DigiCon (The Digital Constitutionalist). Her research interests are related more broadly to law and tech, with a specific focus on the procedural fairness of automated decisions and evidence. Her PhD thesis is entitled “Artificial Intelligence and the transformation of criminal trials in Europe”.

Registration is required for this event. Registered participants will receive the link to this online event on the day of the event.


Download PDF - Francesca Palmiottos' presentation