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UK Watchdog urges tech industry to integrate data protection into AI development, amid rising data breaches



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More than 3,000 cyber breaches reported to the ICO, which regulates the collection and use of personal data, by 2023

Tech companies must “build” data protection into every stage of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to provide the highest protection of people’s personal information, the UK’s data watchdog chief has warned.

Watchdog found that when AI uses personal data, it falls within the scope of existing data protection and transparency laws. This includes using personal data to train, test or deploy AI systems.

John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner will warn an audience of technology leaders: “As leaders in your field, I want to make it clear that you need to think about data protection at every stage of your development, and make sure your developers consider it too.”, as part of a speech on privacy, AI and emerging technologies.

Sachin Agrawal, Managing Director of Zoho UK said: “As AI continues to revolutionize business, it is critical that data protection is built into the design. Companies must implement data protection at every stage of AI development, ensuring privacy is ‘baked in’ to protect both internal and customer data.

According to Zoho’s Digital Health Study, 36 percent of UK businesses surveyed say data privacy plays a critical role in the success of their business. However, only 42 percent of respondents say they comply with all regulations and industry guidelines. This discrepancy highlights the need for more education so that companies can be more responsible about protecting customer data in all aspects of data, not just AI.

Commercial exploitation of customer data is common in the industry, but we believe it is unethical. We believe that a customer owns their own data, not us, and that using it only to promote the products we provide is the right thing to do. This approach ensures legal compliance and builds trust, strengthening customer relationships.

The demand for ethically driven data practices is expected to become even stronger as the use of AI accelerates. Companies that do not focus their policies on the interests of the customer may find customers who are looking elsewhere for a more responsible alternative.”