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Recent videoconferences of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) focused on artificial intelligence, human rights and academic freedom of higher education institutions.

Head of the Estonian Delegation to PACE Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski said that the main topics of discussions at yesterday’s virtual meeting of the enlarged Standing Committee had been the challenges of artificial intelligence and its threats to fundamental freedoms. The role of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice systems and on labour market, and the legal aspects of autonomous vehicles were also discussed.

In her speech at the Assembly, Jufereva-Skuratovski said that various measures had been taken to protect the personal data of users, but it was also necessary to create a so-called “moral machine”. “It is a collection of measures and rules that should become the fundamental principles for the operation of artificial intelligence,” Jufereva-Skuratovski explained. She added that the moral machine had to comply with humanity, principles of the rule of law and the European Convention on Human Rights. In Jufereva-Skuratovski’s opinion, the moral of machines should become a support and a guarantee for the safe and effective development of the relations between the humans, the machines and the environment, and for the future.

The main topics of today’s videoconference were the new crackdown on political opposition and social opposition in Turkey and protection of Turkish citizens by the European Court of Human Rights. The dangers connected with the profession of lawyer, and the need to protect lawyers were also discussed. Besides that, the gender dimension of foreign policy, and threats to the autonomy academic freedom of higher education institutions in Europe were spoken about.

Jufereva-Skuratovski pointed out in her today’s speech that her political group in the PACE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, supported the creation of a platform for the protection of lawyers and drafting of a European convention on the profession of lawyer. As a positive example, she pointed out Estonia, where lawyers were protected, which showed that we had a country that respected democracy, human rights and principles of the rule of law.

Besides Jufereva-Skuratovski, members of the Estonian Delegation to PACE Urmas Reitelmann, Raivo Tamm and Vilja Toomast attended the videoconference.

Pace is the oldest international parliamentary assembly in Europe that held its opening session on 10 August 1949. The task of the Council of Europe is to protect the fundamental values of its member states: human rights, the principle of the rule of law, and democracy.

Riigikogu Press Service
Veiko Pesur
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