Using artificial intelligence to support compliance with the general data protection regulation

John Kingston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union regulation that will replace the existing Data Protection Directive on 25 May 2018. The most significant change is a huge increase in the maximum fine that can be levied for breaches of the regulation. Yet fewer than half of UK companies are fully aware of GDPR – and a number of those who were preparing for it stopped doing so when the Brexit vote was announced. A last-minute rush to become compliant is therefore expected, and numerous companies are starting to offer advice, checklists and consultancy on how to comply with GDPR. In such an environment, artificial intelligence technologies ought to be able to assist by providing best advice; asking all and only the relevant questions; monitoring activities; and carrying out assessments. The paper considers four areas of GDPR compliance where rule based technologies and/or machine learning techniques may be relevant: * Following compliance checklists and codes of conduct; * Supporting risk assessments; * Complying with the new regulations regarding technologies that perform automatic profiling; * Complying with the new regulations concerning recognising and reporting breaches of security. It concludes that AI technology can support each of these four areas. The requirements that GDPR (or organisations that need to comply with GDPR) state for explanation and justification of reasoning imply that rule-based approaches are likely to be more helpful than machine learning approaches. However, there may be good business reasons to take a different approach in some circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
JournalArtificial Intelligence and Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • rule-based systems
  • machine learning
  • compliance
  • data protection
  • GDPR


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