AI Compliance: What It Is and Why You Should Care

An AI-generated painting of a robot lawyer working through some papers


As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to become more prevalent in the workplace – from recruiting to software development to marketing – organizations are increasingly looking for ways to ensure that their AI systems comply with relevant regulations and standards. The field of AI compliance is complex and ever-changing, and staying up-to-date with the latest developments is essential for any organization that uses artificial intelligence. As a professional – whether you are a manager, developer, security specialist, or simply an AI enthusiast – it is crucial to know what the challenges are in this field and how you can tackle them to save your company money and yourself many headaches.


What is AI compliance?

AI compliance is a process that involves making sure that AI-powered systems are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • It includes checking that companies and individuals do not use AI-powered systems to break any laws or regulations;
  • It ensures that the data used to train AI systems is collected and used legally and ethically;
  • AI compliance guarantees that AI-powered systems are not used to discriminate against any particular group or individual and are not used to manipulate or deceive people in any way;
  • It involves verifying that nobody uses AI-powered systems to invade individuals’ privacy or cause any harm to them;
  • Finally, AI compliance also assures that AI-powered systems are employed responsibly and in a way that benefits society.


Why is AI Compliance Important? 

AI compliance is essential for various reasons: first, it ensures that organizations use AI legally and ethically. Somebody can use AI-powered systems to make decisions that significantly impact individuals. Organizations must ensure that these decisions comply with applicable laws and regulations. Second, AI compliance helps to protect organizations from potential legal and financial risks. Suppose authorities find an AI-powered system to be non-compliant. In that case, organizations may be subject to fines, penalties, or other legal action. Finally, AI compliance helps to protect the privacy and security of individuals. AI-powered systems can collect and process large amounts of personal data. Organizations must ensure that this data is collected and used legally and ethically, or they may face hefty fines.


AI has not always been compliant – some examples from the past

Artificial Intelligence has been at the center of discussions about potential bias in its functioning since the first decade of 2000. There are many examples in which artificial intelligence poses an ethical and security threat, such as:

  • AI-based hiring tools. In 2018, Amazon removed a covert AI hiring tool that displayed bias against women. The machine learning model’s tendencies caused most ideal candidates to be created as men, reflecting the predominance of men in the computer industry.
  • Deepfakes. According to Dr. Tim Stevens (Cyber Security Research Group at King’s College London), the use of deepfakes (synthetic media in which the likeness of a different person replaces another in an existing image or video) poses a severe threat to national security since autocracies might make use of them to undermine public confidence in those institutions and organizations.
  • AI-powered photo editing and data protection. There have been different examples of dubious handling of data related to apps that use AI to enhance or transform real pictures, such as a Facebook app that leaked data to a Russian company in 2022. Another worrying example was a popular app (FaceApp) which showed a very oddly written privacy policy, stating that any photographs shared by users are effectively the property of FaceApp.

If you want to know more about the different types of bias of Artificial Intelligence – and also those of Machine Learning and Deep Learning, make sure to check out our blog article “Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning: Addressing the Bias“.

So far, the legislation behind these cases has been relatively loose, with relative fines and enforcement. However, as laid out below, things are rapidly changing – and it’s better to be prepared.


Man worried at the desk


High fines for those who fail to comply – the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act)

Not being able to use AI in a way that is fully compliant with the applicable law may result in high fines and penalties. 2023 is going to be a year central for AI regulation, given the rapid developments in the field and given the role the EU is playing in heavily discussing the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act, first presented on April 21, 2021) – a regulation to establish a uniform regulatory and legal framework for artificial intelligence. Its reach includes all industries (aside from the military) and all varieties of artificial intelligence. On December 6, 2022, the European Council approved its compromised overarching stance on the AI Act. Such regulation has the potential to become a universal norm, much like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. In September 2021, Brazil’s Congress enacted a bill that establishes a legal framework for artificial intelligence, demonstrating that it already impacts outside of Europe.
Fines under the EU AI Act will rank as high as:
  • 30 million Euro or 6% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is higher) – in case of the use of a prohibited AI system according to Art. 5 AI Act or if the company does not meet the quality criteria for high-risk AI systems set out in Art. 10.
  • 20 million Euro or 4% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is higher) – if the establishment and documentation of a risk management system, technical documentation, and standards for high-risk AI systems concerning the accuracy, robustness, and cybersecurity (Article 9) do not meet the criteria.
  • 10 million Euro or 2% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is higher) – if the competent authorities receive inaccurate, insufficient, or deceptive information in answer to their request for information.

Updates on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act)

On June 14, 2023, the European Parliament hashed out its stance on some pretty important AI issues. They expressed concerns about AI systems that can identify people in public spaces in real-time, or afterwards, with law enforcement being the only exception in serious crime cases, but only if they’ve got a judge’s approval. They’re also worried about systems that categorize people using sensitive details like gender or race, predictive policing that profiles individuals based on location or past behavior, systems that can read emotions in contexts like law enforcement or schools, and the random gathering of personal data from social media or CCTV to build facial recognition databases. They’re worried all of this could breach people’s rights and privacy.

Parliament members also decided that they needed to be extra careful about AI that could harm people’s health, safety, fundamental rights, or the environment, as well as AI that could manipulate voters or affect the content folks see on big social media platforms. Companies behind AI technologies like GPT, which is a model that can generate language like a human, need to make sure their tech respects human rights, health, safety, and our environment. These companies need to show that they’re doing everything they can to prevent problems, meet design and information standards, and register in the EU’s database. They also need to be transparent about the fact their content is AI-generated and not created by humans. To support the growth of AI technology while protecting people’s rights, parliament members have proposed exceptions for research and open-source AI components. They’re encouraging the use of “regulatory sandboxes” where AI can be tested in a safe, controlled environment before being released into the wild.

Lastly, they want to give people more power to complain about AI systems and get explanations when these high-risk AI systems have a significant impact on their rights. They also want to strengthen the role of the EU AI Office to ensure these AI rules are followed correctly.


How do you ensure AI compliance?

To ensure full AI compliance, organizations should take into account the following best practices:

  1. Establish clear policies and procedures for AI use.
  2. Develop a comprehensive compliance program.
  3. Monitor AI systems for compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  4. Create an AI governance framework.
  5. Ensure data privacy and security.
  6. Establish an audit process for AI systems.
  7. Develop a process for reporting and responding to compliance issues.
  8. Implement a risk management program.
  9. Train personnel on AI compliance requirements.
  10. Utilize automated tools to monitor AI compliance.

This list might look easy if you’re an AI and data protection expert. But what if you’re not? What if you need to learn how to establish clear policies and procedures – and develop a comprehensive compliance program?

A straightforward way to prepare for AI compliance is to obtain an AI and Data Protection certification from an internationally recognized organization. Together, these certifications cover many topics – including data privacy and security- and help develop a full grasp of artificial intelligence’s nuances and relative regulatory standards. They help professionals and the organizations they work for understand the implications of using AI in various operations and ensure that their systems comply with relevant regulations and standards. Curious to know how to get one? Keep on reading!


Become an expert in AI compliance today with the proper tools

EXIN certifications span from the domain of privacy and data protection to AI – becoming an invaluable tool for lawyers, developers, managers, and many other roles in the digital space to provide their organizations and clients with the tools and guidance they need to ensure that their AI systems comply with relevant regulations and standards. You can help protect your organization and clients from potential legal and financial risks by obtaining an internationally-valid certification.

In this article, we’ve seen how important it is to be prepared to be fully compliant when it comes to AI. Are you ready to face the challenges on this topic and save your company money and legal expenses? Discover more about our AI & Data Protection certifications and ensure full AI compliance in your work and your company by checking the links below!