September 12, 2023

Safeguarding Data Privacy in an AI driven world

Safeguarding Data Privacy in an AI driven world- Open Institute

It is very easy for us to hear about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and think this is just another discovery in the world of technology that has nothing to do with us. We don’t mean to burst your bubble but, you are already using AI as you read this. 

AI is slowly but surely becoming a critical technology that is making its way into our everyday lives.  As AI evolves, it is transforming how we think and live by helping us automate tasks, interact, analyze data, forecast trends,  improve healthcare and education. Simply put, it is transforming the way we communicate, work and use technology. So if someone tells you that AI is just a “passing wind”, do not be deceived. AI has been with us since the dawn of the 1950’s and it is here to stay. With this revelation in mind, it is equally important for us to know how to safeguard our data privacy in our interactions with AI. 

… as AI systems grow more common, data privacy laws and regulations must evolve to keep up with the changing reality.

AI at a Glance

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence like decision making, identifying patterns and interpreting speech. AI can take many forms, from automated cars, wearable fitness trackers, social media applications, and chatbots such as the now popularly known ChatGPT. 

… make informed decisions on whether to provide personal data or not to. #FichaUchi

How to protect your privacy in an AI driven world 

There is no doubt that AI has the potential to improve lives in countless ways, but we cannot ignore the fact that progressive advancements have magnified its ability to use personal data in ways that intrude on data privacy. The question then becomes, “How can we safeguard our data privacy?”. Here are 3 important things you can do:

1. Read the data policies

As long and complicated they may seem, reading these data policies gives in- depth information on what type of personal data is collected, for what purpose, and how you can access it and even delete it. Having this kind of information helps you be aware of your data rights . It helps you  make informed decisions on whether to provide personal data or not to. 

2. Don’t Share Personal Data With AI Chatbots

AI chatbot profiles like your ChatGPT account are prime targets by hackers who can manipulate chatbot programmes to deceive you into clicking on malicious links or visiting fraudulent websites. Once this happens it puts your personal data at risk of manipulation. 

ChatGPT image on data privacy: Chat.Openai

3. Take more caution in your online activities.

Ever wondered why your google and your social media feed just somehow know exactly what you are looking for? Well, that is the power of AI. AI is busy working behind the scenes to learn what you like, track your digital footprints on platforms like Instagram and TikTok then serve you with ads that best resonate with your searches and interests. This does not magically happen, AI is learning your behavior patterns. Don’t get us wrong, AI is not entirely a bad thing, but we encourage you to stay informed and vigilant.

Image by Pexels

What is the future of data privacy and AI?

With AI technology continuously evolving, there is no definite way to tell exactly how this is going to play out. But one thing is for sure, developments in AI will significantly impact data privacy. We therefore advocate for companies and governments designing or using artificial intelligence to do so with data privacy in mind. 

We have been working with other civil society organizations in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana to call for more transparent, accountable and inclusive data use through the  “Restore Data Rights Africa” initiative. This is a call to governments across Africa to sign the Restore Data Rights Declaration to ensure more responsible data use, particularly for citizens. 

We also continue to foster relationships with the Offices of the Data Protection Commissioners and Amnesty international to provide technical and technological support as we progressively provide thought leadership on Data Protection at the Regional and National level. Our public awareness campaign #FichaUchi has also played a major role in educating over 500,000 citizens about their data rights. 

With such measures already in place, Governments have no choice but to embrace transparency and  enforce effective privacy laws and regulations that govern citizen’s  safety  in their interactions with AI. In this era, only organizations that take matters of data privacy seriously will thrive. 

#DataPrivacy #FichaUchi

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