Civil and Military Drones


Civil and Military Drones


European Parliament, October 2019



Often labelled as one of today’s main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration of drones into business and society so as to maintain a competitive EU aviation industry.

Ranging from insect-sized to several tonnes in weight, drones are extremely versatile and can perform a very large variety of functions, from filming to farming, and from medical aid to search and rescue operations. Among the advantages of civil and military drones are their relative low cost, reach, greater work productivity and capacity to reduce risk to human life. These features have led to their mass commercialisation and integration into military planning. Regulatory and oversight challenges remain, however, particularly regarding dual-use drones – civil drones that can be easily turned into armed drones or weaponised for criminal purposes.

At EU level, the European Commission has been empowered to regulate civil drones and the European Aviation Safety Agency to assist with ensuring a harmonised regulatory framework for safe drone operations. The latest EU legislation has achieved the highest ever safety standards for drones. Another challenge remaining for regulators, officials and manufacturers alike is the need to build the trust of citizens and consumers. Given that drones have been in the public eye more often for their misuse than their accomplishments, transparency and effective communication are imperative to prepare citizens for the upcoming drone age.


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The Ethics of Big Data


The Ethics of Big Data






This study, carried out to support the activities of the EESC, explores the ethical dimensions of Big Data in an attempt to balance them with the need for economic growth within the EU. In the first part of the study an in-depth review of the available literature was carried out, to highlight ethical issues connected with Big Data. Five actions were devised as tools to strike the balance described above. The second phase of the study involved interviews with a number of key stakeholders and conducting a survey that acquired information on the general knowledge of the issues connected to the use of Big Data. Feedback on the proposed balancing actions was also sought and taken into consideration in the final analysis. Attitudes as emerged from interviews and survey most often ranged from concerned to worried, while benefits of Big Data were seldom discussed by the respondents. Benefits are intrinsic to Big Data, as well as risks, and they are discussed more broadly throughout the study.


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The making of a smart city: policy recommendations


The making of a smart city: policy recommendations

EU Smart Cities Information Systems


About the Report

The purpose of this report is to share key lessons learned and to provide policy recommendations on how to support Smart Cities projects development. It is the third of a series of SCIS Reports in the Smart Cities Information Systems (SCIS) project, which aims to support and stimulate the replication of successful innovative technologies tested through EU-funded projects. The SCIS project brings together project developers, cities, institutions, industry and experts from across Europe to exchange data, experience the know-how and to collaborate on the creation of smart cities and an energy-efficient urban environment.

This report presents policy recommendations for local, national and EU level policy makers. It covers the main areas influenced by policy, namely regulatory environment and finance. The report also offers a final specialist section dedicated to innovation policy for EU authorities related to Smart Cities. Smart City Planning and project implementation issues, which are the domain of city planners and promoters, are covered by the SCIS report on technology replication1 . This report complements SCIS information database that is focused on the projects themselves, by presenting an analysis of the barriers encountered by projects caused by policy framework conditions in place. It also proposes s some potential policy solutions. This report is thus to some extent the reverse of the coin of the technical replication study and will show therefore a number of synergies. The report is based on several main sources of information:

• Technological, policy and financial analysis of Smart Cities and Communities FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects in the areas of energy, mobility and transport and ICT, co-financed by the European Commission;

• Insights, shared by Smart Cities projects coordinators during dedicated workshops;

• Insights from other Smart Cities platforms, such as the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities;

• Literature review and other sources.


The report has the following structure:

Chapter 1 Introduces the report;

Chapter 2 provides overview of the policy challenges to be addressed by authorities and policy makers at the three levels of governance in the area of innovation and replication;

Chapter 3 focuses on policy actions needed at national and local level;

Chapter 4 Focuses on EU level policy aspects.


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Policy and Investment Recommendations for Trustworthy AI


Policy and Investment Recommendations for Trustworthy AI


the High-Level Expert Group 

26 June 2019




In its various communications on artificial intelligence (AI)1 the European Commission has set out its vision for AI, which is to be trustworthy and human-centric. Three pillars underpin the Commission’s vision: (i) increasing public and private investments in AI to boost its uptake, (ii) preparing for socio-economic changes, and (iii) ensuring an appropriate ethical and legal framework to protect and strengthen European values. To support the implementation of this vision, the Commission established the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG), an independent group mandated with the drafting of two deliverables: a set of AI Ethics Guidelines and a set of Policy and Investment Recommendations.2

In our first deliverable, the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI3 published on 8 April 2019 (Ethics Guidelines), we stated that AI systems need to be human-centric, with the goal of improving individual and societal well-being, and worthy of our trust. In order to be deemed trustworthy, we put forward that AI systems – including all actors and processes involved therein – should be lawful, ethical and robust. Those Guidelines therefore constituted a first important step in identifying the type of AI that we want and do not want for Europe, but that is not enough to ensure that Europe can also materialise the beneficial impact that Trustworthy AI can bring.

Taking the next step, this document contains our proposed Policy and Investment Recommendations for Trustworthy AI, addressed to EU institutions and Member States. Building on our first deliverable, we put forward 33 recommendations that can guide Trustworthy AI towards sustainability, growth and competitiveness, as well as inclusion – while empowering, benefiting and protecting human beings. We believe that EU Institutions and Member States will play a key role in the achievement of these goals, as a pivotal player in the data economy, a procurer of Trustworthy AI systems and as a standard-setter of sound governance.

Our recommendations focus on four main areas where we believe Trustworthy AI can help achieving a beneficial impact, starting with humans and society at large (A), and continuing then to focus on the private sector (B), the public sector (C) and Europe’s research and academia (D). In addition, we also address the main enablers needed to facilitate those impacts, focusing on availability of data and infrastructure (E), skills and education (F), appropriate governance and regulation (G), as well as funding and investment (H).

These recommendations should not be regarded as exhaustive, but attempt to tackle the most pressing areas for action with the greatest potential. Europe can distinguish itself from others by developing, deploying, using and scaling Trustworthy AI, which we believe should become the only kind of AI in Europe, in a manner that can enhance both individual and societal well-being.


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Smart Glasses and Data Protection


Smart Glasses and Data Protection


Brussels, January 2019



Executive Summary

Smart glasses are wearable computers with a mobile Internet connection that are worn like glasses or that are mounted on regular glasses. They allow to display information in the user’s view field and to capture information from the physical world using e.g. camera, microphone and GPS receiver for augmented-reality (AR) applications.

The initial release of Google’s smart glass gained significant attention worldwide and increased the popularity of those devices. While the target audience has been initially the business sector (e.g. logistics, training simulations, etc.) with unit prices of about EUR 1500, recently competitors such as Snap Inc. address a wider and younger audience with cheaper models for about EUR 150.

While smart glasses may be very useful tools in many fields of application (technical maintenance, education, construction, etc.), their use has been discussed controversially because they also are considered to yield a high potential to undermine the privacy of individuals, especially where not properly privacy-friendly designed. The data protection impact of recording videos of persons in public places has already been discussed in the context of CCTV and dashcams. The sensors may record environmental information including video streams of the users’ view field, audio recordings and localisation data. Furthermore, smart glasses may allow their users to process invisible personal data of others, such as device identifiers, that devices emit regularly in form of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radio signals. These data may not only contain personal data of the users, but also of individuals in their proximity (non- users). Applications of the smart glasses may process recorded data locally or remotely by third parties after an automated transfer via the Internet. Especially when smart glasses are used in densely populated public areas, existing safeguards to inform data subjects by means of acoustic or visual indicators (LEDs) are not efficient. Smart glasses may also leak personal data of their users to their environment. Depending on the smart glass design, non-users may also watch the smart glass display, which may contain personal data such as private mails, pictures, etc. Like any other Internet connected device, smart glasses may suffer from security loopholes than can be actively exploited to steal data or run unauthorised software.

While smart glasses play so far only a marginal role in everyday life, experts estimate an important potential to increase productivity in the professional sector thanks to AR and the smart glasses initiatives of Facebook, Apple and Amazon will lead to an increasing adoption in the consumer market. Technological improvements in facial or voice recognition and battery life may allow for novel use cases of smart glasses in many sectors. For instance, in the law enforcement field, reports revealed in early 2018 that police officers employ smart glasses to match individuals (in crowds) against a database of criminal suspects using facial recognition. In this dynamic field, data protection authorities are challenged to keep pace with the rapid developments and provide guidelines. Indeed, many aspects have been covered already in the WP 29 Opinion on the Internet of Things.

With the GDPR, a harmonised set of principles and a system of tools have been provided, first and foremost for the controllers, processors and developers of smart glasses to assess and control their impact on data protection and privacy. At the current stage of the development, an urgent need for technology specific legislative initiatives does not appear to be justified. However, the development of smart glasses and similar connected recording devices underlines the need to establish a robust framework for privacy and electronic communications, as proposed with the ePrivacy Regulation.


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Personal Robots and Personal Data


Personal Robots and Personal Data



Gizem Gültekin Várkonyi

Assistant Coordinator, PhD Fellow

University of Szeged

Faculty of Law and Political Sciences




In this blog post, I argue whether, and at what level, it is possible to exercise right to personal data protection in the era of Social Robots with Artificial Intelligence (hereafter, Social Robot). I analyze the concept of consent that was strengthened in European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I basically reach to such a conclusion that, a Social Robot at personal usage challenges practicability of the GDPR. This conclusion derives from, first, Social Robot’s ability to collect vast amount of data naturally, e.g. via natural Human-Robot Interaction, or when it connects to Internet. Since a personal Social Robot’s life source, its blood, is personal data, it would be absurd for a user to not to give consent to get more personal services. In addition, it is well-known that most of the users do not read/listen consent texts, or do not understand even if they do so. Moreover, it is not easy to answer to the question of whether consent could be validly given for purposes that even the developer is not able to foresee (Unpredictable by Design). Finally, even if consent was validly given, it is not possible to make Social Robot to “forget” about the personal data in subject, in case when a particular personal data became an organic part of robot’s Neural Network. Otherwise, how consent could be withdrawn from a Social Robot should also be questioned.


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Artificial intelligence: Anticipating Its Impact On Jobs To Ensure A Fair Transition


Artificial intelligence: Anticipating Its Impact On Jobs To Ensure A Fair Transition 

avrupa birliği ile ilgili görsel sonucu

European Economic and Social Committee

Rapporteur: Franca SALIS-MADINIER



1.Conclusions and recommendations

1.1.Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will expand and amplify the impact of the digitalisation of the economy on labour markets. Technological progress has always affected work and employment, requiring new forms of social and societal management. The EESC believes that technological development can contribute to economic and social progress; however, it feels that it would be a mistake to overlook its overall impact on society. In the world of work, AI will expand and amplify the scope of job automation. This is why the EESC would like to give its input to efforts to lay the groundwork for the social transformations which will go hand in hand with the rise of AI and robotics, by reinforcing and renewing the European social model.

1.2.The EESC flags up the potential of AI and its applications, particularly in the areas of healthcare, security in the transport and energy sectors, combating climate change and anticipating threats in the field of cybersecurity. The European Union, governments and civil society organisations have a key role to play when it comes to fully tapping the potential advantages of AI, particularly for people with disabilities or reduced mobility, the elderly and people with chronic health issues.

1.3.However, the EU has insufficient data on the digital economy and the resulting social transformation. The EESC recommends improving statistical tools and research, particularly on AI, the use of industrial and service robots, the Internet of Things and new economic models (the platform-based economy and new forms of employment and work).

1.4.The EESC calls on the European Commission to promote and support studies carried out by European sector-level social dialogue committees on the sector-specific impact of AI and robotics and, more broadly, of the digitalisation of the economy.

1.5.It is acknowledged that AI and robotics will displace and transform jobs, by eliminating some and creating others. Whatever the outcome, the EU must guarantee access to social protection for all workers, employees and self-employed or bogus self-employed persons, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights.


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Artificial Intelligence


İlgili resim

European Economic and Social Committee
Artificial intelligence – The consequences of artificial intelligence on the (digital) single market, production, consumption, employment and society



  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently undergoing a number of important developments and is rapidly being applied in society. The AI market amounts to around USD 664 million and is expected to grow to USD 38.8 billion by 2025. As AI can have both a positive and a negative impact on society, the EESC has undertaken to closely monitor developments surrounding AI, not only from a technical perspective but also specifically from an ethical, safety and societal perspective.
  2. As the representative of European civil society, the EESC will shape, focus and promote the public debate on AI in the coming period, involving all relevant stakeholders: policy-makers, industry, the social partners, consumers, NGOs, educational and care institutions, and experts and academics from various disciplines (including AI, safety, ethics, economics, occupational science, law, behavioural science, psychology and philosophy).
  3. Although important, the discussion on superintelligence is currently predominating and this is overshadowing the debate on the impact of the current applications of AI. Therefore, the task and objective of this process will, among other things, be to enhance and broaden knowledge of AI and thereby feed into an informed and balanced debate free of worst-case scenarios and extreme relativism. In this connection, the EESC will undertake to promote the development of AI for the benefit of humanity. Nevertheless, an important task and objective of this process is also to recognise, identify and monitor disruptive developments in and around the development of AI, in order to be able to address them adequately and in good time. This will lead to increased social involvement, trust and support with respect to the further sustainable development and use of AI. (…)


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