Many states deploy artificial intelligence (AI) and associated technology in their efforts to safeguard their national security. When these states justify their recourse to AI for national security purposes by arguing that ‘technology and machines are neutral’, they disregard one essential element: technology is far from neutral. Inherent biases and errors in AI deployed in national security uses seriously threaten people’s fundamental rights. Citizens subjected to intrusive AI-enabled technology see, amongst others, their right to privacy, right to a fair trial, right to freedom of opinion and even their most fundamental right to life endangered. This work seeks to investigate and raise awareness regarding several human rights threatened by the state’s recourse to AI for national security purposes.
- Artificial intelligence
- National security
- European Convention on Human Rights
- Right to privacy
- Freedom of expression
- Right to life
- Fair trial
- Unmanned aerial vehicles
- Lethal autonomous weapons
- Foreign state disinformation
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The original definition reads ‘the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by “men”’. For the sake of gender-inclusiveness, ‘men’ has been changed to ‘humans’. The same remark can be made regarding rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, where the Court’s exclusive reference to ‘man’, ‘his’ and other male inclinations have been replaced by the more gender-inclusive forms ‘humans’, ‘persons’ and ‘their’.
As stated previously, due to the limited scope of this work, the human rights threats will only be analysed on the basis of the legal framework of the European Convention on Human Rights, with the exclusion of other international instruments, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, European Union instruments, such as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2012, or national instruments, such as the UK’s Human Rights Act 1998. Moreover, other legal frameworks, such as the data protection framework will not be addressed.
Article 15 of the Convention allows states to derogate from certain qualified rights of the Convention in times of war or public emergency when such restrictions are required by the exigencies of the emergency situation. The current analysis of national security uses of AI however does not extend to the analysis of states’ state of emergency or times of war, but is restricted to the state’s daily use of AI for national security purposes. Hence, the possibility to derogate from those rights will not be discussed.
Besides this prohibition, the right to freedom of expression also contains a positive counterpart that obliges states to ensure that whenever a conflict arises between a citizen and a private company, the citizen will still be able to enjoy this right. See: Jorgensen and Pedersen (2017).
The current analysis of states’ practices of surveillance will only address the recourse to CCTV, with the exclusion of other forms of surveillance practices.
Due to the limited scope of this work, the different principles and the international humanitarian law in general will not be discussed in depth. For a more detailed analysis of these topics, see: Melzer (2019).
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Dieu, O., Montasari, R. (2022). How States’ Recourse to Artificial Intelligence for National Security Purposes Threatens Our Most Fundamental Rights. In: Montasari, R. (eds) Artificial Intelligence and National Security. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06709-9_2
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