In 2021, the European Commission set the stage for a transformative journey into the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) and civil security. The result was the SU (Security Union)-AI Cluster, a collaboration between three significant projects: ALIGNER, popAI, and STARLIGHT. Each project had its own unique focus but shared the mission of reshaping AI's role in European law enforcement, all while upholding the core values of the European Union.
From the start, the SU-AI Cluster placed a strong emphasis on collaboration, not just within the cluster but with external projects and initiatives. The primary goal was to ensure that AI adoption by law enforcement agencies happened ethically, with societal considerations and legal compliance at the forefront.
The SU-AI Cluster made a joint presence at the "Security Research Event 2023: Societal Transformations, Climate Change, and Digitalization—a New Paradigm of Security Research." This event, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 24–25 October 2023, served as a platform to showcase our collective efforts.
Understanding Each Project's Role
ALIGNER: A platform for uniting stakeholders in AI, law enforcement, and policing It aims to identify and address the needs for a more secure Europe through AI-supported law enforcement, ensuring public empowerment and protection.
popAI: Focused on increasing awareness, trust, and dialogue on the ethical use of AI in policing. Through a cross-disciplinary approach, it engaged various stakeholders, mapped the AI ecosystem, and developed policy recommendations, best practices, and an ethics toolbox for law enforcement agencies.
STARLIGHT: Aims to enhance the EU's strategic autonomy in AI for law enforcement. It achieves this through close collaboration with law enforcement agencies, researchers, industries, and practitioners. The emphasis is on improving AI understanding, enabling practical AI solutions, protecting AI systems, and countering AI-supported criminal activities while promoting the responsible use of AI.
Shaping the AI Landscape: Policy Recommendations
The SU-AI Cluster played a pivotal role in shaping policy recommendations for the responsible deployment of AI in law enforcement. These recommendations were formed through extensive consultations with experts, advisory boards, law enforcement agencies, and other research projects.
The EU's AI Regulatory Framework: A Game-Changer
In April 2021, the European Commission introduced the Artificial Intelligence Act, a comprehensive AI regulatory framework which puts humans at the heart of AI systems, adopting a risk-based approach. Subsequently, the Council of the European Union issued its General Approach, paving the way for discussions about issues related to security, migration, and borders.
The Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) and the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology (DG CNECT) play a vital role in the AI regulatory process. The SU-AI Cluster actively contributes by offering AI policy recommendations and engaging in policy-oriented events and workshops, maintaining close collaboration with relevant DGs.
Six Policy Recommendations: Guiding Ethical AI Use
The SU-AI Cluster, with significant contributions from popAI's focus on ethical AI in policing, has identified six policy recommendations aimed at guiding the ethical, societal, and legal use of AI in law enforcement:
- Provide common guidelines and unbiased specialist support to LEAs for AI technology.
- Establish unified frameworks for evaluating AI tools during development and deployment.
- Review and establish new legal mechanisms to ensure ethical and legal AI use.
- Foster meaningful dialogue between regulators, LEAs, researchers, industry, and civil society.
- Support guidelines for gender-sensitive and gender-responsive policing in the AI era.
- Extend research programmes to facilitate evidence-based, participatory research into LEA needs, AI implications, and potential criminal use of AI.
Post-SRE2023: A Journey of Dedication
Through collaborative efforts, policy recommendations, and practical AI applications, the cluster aims to ensure AI supports law enforcement agencies responsibly, ethically, and in full compliance with the law, ultimately enhancing the safety and security of society. The SRE2023 event served as a testament to our commitment and set the stage for our continued journey.
For a more detailed overview, download the cluster booklet below.