NSW Law Soc calls for government AI inquiry to factor in local and global precedents

President Brett McGrath suggested that NSW Parliament build on and adapt existing approaches

NSW Law Soc calls for government AI inquiry to factor in local and global precedents

The NSW Law Society has urged the state government to derive insights from both international and domestic precedents in the regulation of emerging AI technologies.

NSW Law Society President Brett McGrath addressed a NSW Upper House Inquiry into AI on Monday, where he said that recommendations should reference the existing AI regulation efforts at the global and federal levels.

“AI brings with it many challenges and opportunities, and appropriately flexible, scalable and principles-based regulation will help ensure that the community can both reap the benefits of AI and be protected from its potential threats. The NSW Parliament should build upon and adapt existing approaches that are emerging both in Australian and international jurisdictions, and seek consistency with respect to privacy, cyber-security, consumer rights and human rights law”, McGrath said.

He added that NSW policy makers “may also find value in considering overseas efforts to deal with AI regulation, including the European Union’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act and the more ‘light touch’ approach to AI regulation adopted in the United Kingdom”. Such contrasting approaches “provide NSW with a useful point of comparison as the Inquiry, and later, the Government decides on the best approach to take to AI regulation”.

The Law Society shared its intent to encourage the Inquiry to promote consistency in Australia’s AI legislation and to incorporate the insights and proposals from significant AI studies to date, including the Commonwealth Government’s consultation on the Safe and Responsible use of AI in Australia.

Additionally, McGrath expressed his support for the Inquiry’s examination of the NSW Government’s AI Strategy, Assurance Framework, and Mandatory Ethical Principles for AI use.

“No clearer example is before our policy makers of the need for ethical use of AI than the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme. Citizens should know when and how automated decision making is significantly affecting their human rights and how and why they are being singled out for differential treatment”, he said.

Olga Ganopolsky, Chair of the Law Society’s Privacy and Data Law Committee, supported McGrath at the Inquiry hearing.

AI is among McGrath’s Presidential Priorities for 2024. Recently, he put together an AI Taskforce focused on addressing AI challenges

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