Hi everyone. For those that don’t know me, my name is Devon Thomas and I was a summer intern for the DataEthics4All AI Society from June 2021 - September 2021. The reason I am writing this article is to take
Hi everyone. For those that don’t know me, my name is Devon Thomas and I was a summer intern for the DataEthics4All AI Society from June 2021 – September 2021. The reason I am writing this article is to take you on my journey from these past two months to help you understand why being an intern at DataEthics4All is not only amazing in the opportunities they give, but also in the skills and friendships that come after the end of the internship. I have been involved with DataEthics4All since November of 2020 to gain volunteer hours when I applied to be a tutor and met with Shilpi Agarwal, one of the nicest people I have met to this day. We immediately clicked and she offered me a place in their tutoring society and together we partnered with our school to find students with low-income backgrounds that show significant academic backgrounds.
As time went on, I knew DataEthics4All would play a big part in my life as me and Shilpi Agarwal formed a trust with one another to help grow the DataEthics4All society. It wasn’t until May 19th, that I would find myself taking the next step forward. Mrs. Agarwal had sent out an email to me asking if I was interested in doing a summer internship being eight hours a day, five days a week. Instantly, I knew how amazing of an opportunity this would be to show colleges my hard work ethic and commitment, and had no second thought about the hours needed each week to complete the internship. Knowing the applications would be competitive, I went the extra mile and made sure I would do everything in my power to have all the necessary requirements to get the position.
After proving my research abilities and ability to learn new things, Mrs. Agarwal granted me the internship but suggested I should base it on the AI Society. At the time, I had no clue what it was going to be and only knew Mrs. Agarwal was excited to showcase it by the end of summer to the public. So, the journey began. After school officially ended in my junior year of high school, I met with Shilpi Agarwal and a few other interns selected on a Zoom call and we established a goal of 100 AI products published by the end of summer in high quality. Since I never had any work experience prior, I had no clue about the amount of work needed to complete an internship and the things expected of me. I left the Zoom call thinking Mrs. Agarwal would be my supervisor only to find out a man named Kevin Dias would be the head supervisor for my internship over the summer. Kevin was on the Zoom call at the time, so I was still happy someone with high credentials would be supervising.
I went to sleep early that day and when I woke up, I started my first day more nervous than any activity I have ever done before and vowed I would not give up. The first week was very challenging for me as spending eight hours a day in the summer while the heat raged on was tedious and research-intensive. These pages were published on WordPress, a website builder, which required a special SEO solution for each AI product we would feature for different AI companies. What I loved most about these AI products was it was not the top-brand names we featured like Google Cloud or IBM Watson, rather lesser-known products like h20.ai driverless ai. This helped me overcome my challenge of doing the work for long periods of time because I knew this would help create awareness for different AI products that are revolutionizing the world as you read this.
The first month of the internship was standard: do the work required for the day (3-4 ai products daily) and make sure you are spending time wisely. The real problems began towards the end of July when my responsibilities began to increase day after day. One day, Kevin invited me to a Zoom call to discuss some issues that have been occurring in my internship. At the time I had about 50 AI products pending ready to be published by either Kevin or Mrs. Agarwal, however, Kevin felt I wasn’t using my time efficiently and told me my first new step in the internship would be to do image optimization which required me to use Photoshop, a skill I never tried before.
This is where my internship took a turn from what I thought would be the worst, to in reality becoming one of the most important moments in life. Before this Zoom call, Kevin and I only had positive things to report and with this sudden new change, I simply was skeptical and was afraid of taking on a new challenge. Kevin assumed I was comfortable taking on the challenge of image optimization and that I would collect all the product screenshots needed to do so, but I told him otherwise. This is where miscommunication sparked the shift and Kevin and I spent over an hour in the call discussing plans if I refused to do image optimization. I said I wasn’t talented enough, but Kevin told me something that I will never forget. “I want to stop you right there Devon. Saying you are not talented before even trying, is very dangerous. It could really affect your mental health and think of yourself in a negative light,” Kevin said in a soft tone. It was here I understood that the people I was working with really cared about me and wanted me to succeed beyond the internship.
I still was hesitant to agree, however, after the Zoom call I agreed to the image optimization and Kevin was ecstatic. However, the damage was already done. Mrs. Agarwal heard of the conflict and wanted to do a Zoom with me and Kevin later that day. I thought it would be only positive, but I sure was wrong about that. At first, our meeting was starting off good and Mrs. Agarwal even commended the hard work I have done over this summer, but then she informed me of complaints about the work I was completing each day and my inability to take on a new challenge. She was blunt and strict, a side I never knew she had and explained there were three types of people and she wanted me to become the person who worked the hardest and could still successfully be recognized. When I was told I was not on that level, truthfully, my heart was shattered as everyone else has always told me in my life that I was always on top.
She ended the meeting on a good note saying she would be happy to write me a letter of recommendation and help me throughout my college years, but I would have to prove myself first. She also set a new goal of 150-200 AI products by the end of summer which stressed me out further even though I knew it was my mission to get it done. From there, everything changed as I worked even harder optimizing all the previous 50 AI products and doing 6-7 AI products daily with image optimization included. I overcame the challenge of trying new things and learned more about Photoshop in the process.
My favorite part of the internship was how understanding Kevin and Mrs. Agarwal were. I needed to go on vacation with my family and since there was no way out of leaving, I asked Mrs. Agarwal if I could go away and she offered to extend my internship another week and for me to not do any work over the break. This happened again when I needed to take my last SAT at the end of August and needed to extend my internship another week since I was going to take off the week of the SAT and Mrs. Agarwal and Kevin happily did while wishing me luck on my SAT. While the internship was coming to an end, only a few more new steps were incorporated.
To start, I would finally get to add top brand name AI products like Google and IBM to broaden our AI society. Next, I would be given the task and trust to actually publish and make the AI products public. Because of my limited access to my account in WordPress, I couldn’t fully publish any AI products, but with an upgrade thanks to Mrs. Agarwal, I could now finish the final piece of the puzzle. Mrs. Agarwal decided after we reached 100 AI products to focus on these 100 and get them published instead of doing 150 and not having them published before the internship ended.
One saying I will never forget from Mrs. Agarwal is “quality over quantity.” She repeated this all throughout my internship and it couldn’t be more true. I made sure for the final week of my internship to honor this saying and I can proudly say I ended my internship with 100 product pages fully published all done on my own which can be found and viewed at https://dataethics4all.org/ai-society/. I worked every minute of every hour in the last week and it paid off as Mrs. Agarwal agreed to write me a letter of recommendation and I even gained the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing 200 hours of volunteer work during my internship!
Overall, DataEthics4All has been a monumental help in my personal growth and has given me countless opportunities that I could take advantage of through the AI Society. Working alongside Kevin Dias and Shilpi Agarwal helping advance our AI Society, I have gained essential leadership skills and learned new useful tools such as WordPress and Photoshop in the span of two months being a summer intern. In addition, I got to research and learn about new cutting-edge AI technologies, products, and solutions for the AI Society. This internship was not only a great learning experience but also rewarding that will look great on my college apps. I recommend this internship to anyone looking to take on a new challenge and learn more about how AI revolutionizes the world. I will continue to help advance the AI Society as a volunteer after school each day. Special thanks to Mrs. Agarwal, one of the greatest mentors you will ever have!
“No matter how hard things seem at first, keep trying. Know that the moment you give up is the moment opportunities are lost. Never be afraid! Never lose hope!” – Devon Thomas
The future of responsible, transparent, community-trusted AI products is here.
At some point in your life, you’ve either left an online review on a product or service or you’ve read an online review. You’re also the intelligent click-bait averse kind that reads the comment section first, before watching the video. If you’re also someone who will settle for nothing but the best AI solution, in a world of limitless solutions, AI Society exists for you.
“There are a lot of awesome websites that list AI Resources and these are great and very much needed but none that give Reviews and Ratings for someone to evaluate whether it is worth their Company’s time and resources to adopt and implement them as a Framework or a Solution. DataEthics4All wanted to give Companies a way to look at AI products, platforms, tools, solutions, toolkits, frameworks, etc, learn from the ratings and see whether it would be worth their Company’s time and resources to invest in it. An Amazon equivalent exclusively for AI Solutions. Our AI Society not only hopes to provide ratings about price, ease of use and customer service but would also like to add ratings for ethics, privacy and trust to help informed Customers see whether a Company uses data and has built a solution keeping Ethics by Design at the forefront.”
– Shilpi Agarwal, Founder and CEO of DataEthics4All
About AI Society
AI Society is the world’s 1st directory of AI resources with customer reviews that cover ethics, transparency and trust. Through months of hard work from volunteer team members during the summer of 2021, AI Society went from being an idea, to a platform that houses the most essential information on 100+ AI products and growing. In less than 3 months, detailed AI product pages exist on the dataethics4all website that walk you through a product overview, user reviews, further information about the company and a closer look at the product itself. The AI companies span the retail & e-commerce, healthcare, education, finance, logistics and overall technology industries. Top brand names include Amazon, IBM and Google.
You, the customer.
As an AI product customer, you get the ability to see what people have to say about the product under the lens of ethics, transparency and trust. Having reviews curated this way allows you to have more focused and relevant reviews than you might find on other, generic product review platforms. As a member of the AI society, you get the chance to, through your reviews, give back not just to the community but also to the field of AI research & development. Product reviews on AI Society have a higher likelihood of not only reaching the company, but also the decision-maker(s) relevant to the product itself.
You, the company.
Being a product owner is powerful and comes with its own responsibility, and we recognize that. We’re here to help you serve your customers better. All while fulfilling your ethical, moral and social responsibility towards our technological advancement as a race. Whether you are beta testing a brand new product or are on your 10th generation of your product lifecycle, AI Society offers you quality criticism from your customer base so you can understand and action on enhancements as rapidly as possible.
The project could not have made it this far if it wasn’t for our intern Nicola Green from Oxford University and our youth summer volunteer Devon Thomas (who earned the PVSA silver award through this work).
We at AI Society believe in removing the barriers that divide AI companies and their AI customers. We recognize the shared value from both sides and hope that you do too. Come have a look for yourself, we can’t wait to welcome you to the AI Society!
Kevin Rose Dias is a Volunteer Member of the DataEthics4All Leadership Council and an experienced data analytics professional with a passion towards data-driven storytelling. He holds several credentials from Salesforce, Adobe, IBM and Microsoft that span website analytics, DMPs and cloud computing. He has a proven track-record in helping clients understand their online customers better and optimize their marketing campaigns towards meeting their goals. Through DataEthics4All, Kevin is excited to apply his expertise and play a part in creating a more ethical, diverse and safe future for everyone.
A large gap in GDPR violations between EU countries and different industries
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the toughest data privacy and protection law in Europe. It was adopted on April 14th, 2016 after passing European Parliament and became enforceable on May 25th, 2018. It is applicable on companies and organizations worldwide as long as they target data of citizens or residents of the European Union member states. It is composed of 99 Articles, each stating certain laws, principles or provisions about a particular data protection regulation. The GDPR also provides 173 Recitals of the regulation as a resource and guideline for individuals and organizations who are involved in any data transfer. The GDPR’s understanding of data protection is very deep and it is proven by the 7 data protection principles which were highlighted in Article 5 of the GDPR:
1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
2. Purpose limitation
3. Data minimization
5. Storage limitation
6. Integrity and confidentiality
The GDPR is in fact an extension of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950. The EU needed to adapt to technological change in human lives, hence, provide up-to-date human rights laws including the right for personal data privacy and protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from exploitation and misuse. The individuals/organizations that are required to be compliant to the GDPR are mainly one of two types:
- Data Controller: The employee or the organization that has the decision-making power when it comes to how and why data from the EU is being used.
- Data Processor: The third party that is responsible for processing the data on behalf of the data controller.
Both parties have a set of special GDPR rules specific to them besides the general ones, which they also need to abide by. Otherwise, these two parties will face serious penalties from European data authorities.
GDPR Violations by volume.
The GDPR’s penalty fines can be very important, depending on the article corresponding to the violation committed by either the Data Controller or Data Processor. These penalty fines have a wide range from a few hundred Euros to 20 Million Euros (24.1 Million Dollars) or 4% of global revenue which in most cases is considered higher than 20 M€.
Fines of GDPR violations in the European Union witness serious peaks in 2021
Total Fines for GDPR Violations in 2021 (Million Euros)
You may hover over the chart data points for more details.
The total amount of fines paid by GDPR violators in European Union member states ranges from 0 to 10.4 Million € in the first 7 months of 2021. The fines reached their maximum of 10.4 M€ on January 8th, 2021 where Articles 5 and 6 of the GDPR were violated both in one day by a single organization. The violation was commited by an electronics retail company in Germany that had video-monitored its employees for more than 2 years without having sufficient legal biasis for this personal data processing. The data protection law violation was made in the name of warehouse security and theft prevention.
The total fines exceed 1 Million Euros in the months of January, March, May and June of 2021. Each of these months showcases at least 2 peaks in GDPR fines in the EU which demonstrates the gravity of the crimes discovered in 2021.
Could the digitalization of the world of business during the pandemic have made a contribution in the rise of these serious GDPR violation? Which EU countries are behind these Data Controllers? And which industries are the most negligent of GDPR data privacy and protection laws?
GDPR Violations by type.
More than 5 unique types of GDPR Violations were detected in 2020 & 2021
The General Data Protection Regulation developed 99 precise articles to adress various data privacy and protection crimes. In the years 2020 and 2021, more than 5 GDPR violation types were distinguished in order to classify each GDPR law breaking activity and make them understandable for EU citizens and residents who are not very familiar with the GDPR.
Percentages of GDPR Fines by Violation Type (2020-2021)
You may hover over the bar chart for more details.
Almost half of the violations in the specified timeframe were merely a result of insufficient legal basis for data processing, including some of the most serious GDPR law violations in the EU. The data processing refers to but is not limited to collecting data, manipulating data and transfering it without legal consent (with or without commerical purposes).
26.4% of the detected violations are due to insufficient technical and organisational measures to ensure information security which in Article 32 of the GDPR mainly consists on making sure data controllers and processors encrypt personal data, ensure confidentiality and the resilience of processing systems and provide regular evaluation tests for technical and orgnizational security measures. This category’s average amount of fine is about 524,000 €.
On the other hand, only 4% of GDPR law breaches correspond to insufficient fulfilment of information obligations with only an average fine of almost 289,000 €. This could be expained by the simplicity of this particular violation because most of the cases it only occurs when there is miscommunicated information between the Data Controller/Processor and the PII provider. An example would be displaying an ambigious “Terms of Services” agreement or an unclear “Data Privacy” disclaimer and acting on them to collect private data without full and concrete consent of the client/user.
Meanwhile, less than 1% of the violations resulted from various not so frequent types such as insufficient cooperation with supervisory authority, insufficient data processing agreement, insufficient fulfilment of data breach notification obligations and lack of appointment of data protection officer.
These types may seem unnecessary to some organizations. This leads to disregarding the importance that comes with these detailed data security measures and protection procedures. However, the penalty fines to one of these rare violations ranged from 500 € to 475,000 € in the years 2020 and 2021.
GDPR FINES by Country.
Ranking European Union countries of fined organizations from 2020 to Mid 2021
The General Data Protection Regulation has proven to be severe and taken seriously by the European Union, Data Controllers and Data Processors since spring 2018. But, circumstances change overtime such as the unprecedented global pandemic in the start of 2020. Around the same time, many organizations felt threatened by a possible economic recession and became utterly dependent on the digitalization of their activities, especially given the Coronavirus restrictions in Europe and work-from-home policies to prevent the spread of the virus. Subsequently, these organizations relied on data on many levels (clientele, personnel, etc.) and took multiple decisions that affected the data but also violated at least one of the 99 GDPR Articles. This lead the Data Controllers/Processors‘ short term solutions to long term legal and financial problems.
The cumulative volume of GDPR fines from 2020 to Mid 2021 varies by EU country as follows:
Top 10 EU Countries by Cumulative GDPR Fines (2020-2021)
You may pause the progress bar chart and change ranking from highest to lowest.
Spain has proven to be the only EU country remaining in the Top 5 ranks of cumulative GDPR fines for 19 months since the start of 2020. This translates to a series of GDPR violations with penalties reaching a total over 43 Million Euros. Meanwhile, Italy has not left the #1 rank since January 15th, 2020. This escalation of GDPR violations’ fines is alarming given that the Italian data authorities already have an Italian Data Protection Code which has been progressively reformed since the GDPR’s additions in data protection laws and its derogation of some others.
Austria, however, shows a good example of “Data Discipline” for the rest of the EU member countries as the only one where the total GDPR fines never exceeded 850 € since 2020. Austria remains the lowest fined country for GDPR law breaking throughout the timeframe except on October 19th, 2020 when two private individuals violated articles 5,6 and 9 of the GDPR because of insufficient legal basis for data processing, both from health care and private sector. This demonstrates that Man can be individually responsible for the crimes of an entire organization –public or private– and can influence its legal status as well as the image of the country of operations in terms of data ethics. Fortunately, the Austrian Data Protection Authority (DSB) was one of the numerous local data protection laws in Austia that had enforced strict regulations for the sake of personal data privacy and protection from unethical processing. Till date, Austria is the least fined EU Country for GDPR violations.
GDPR FINES by Industry.
Percentages of Total GDPR Fines by Industry (2020-2021)
You may hover over the column chart for more details.
The chart indicates that the General Data Protection Regulation has not made the same impact on actions from different industries. The total fines percentages of Data controllers and processors from Media, Telecommunication & Broadcasting as well as Human Resources & Employment indicate a certain level of negligence and repetitive unlawful behavior towards personal data of EU citizens and residents, respectively around 37% and 21%. Together, these two industries represent more than half of penalized individuals / organizations because of their constant dependency on PII for business growth and lucrative purposes.
On the other hand, Individuals & Private Associatons have shown more precaution when dealing with data while respecting the GDPR articles, particularly the ones with the highest amounts of fines. A minority of 0.1% of total fines are mainly from industries such as Real Estate.
The European Union has made a big step forward when enforcing the GDPR on EU member countries. Not only has it started raising awareness about the importance of technological inclusion in human rights laws but it also started fighting against attackers on EU data and penalizing them in order to make an example. However, this does not cover the fact that many organizations are still trying to outsmart the GDPR by violating articles with legitimate excuses such as staff control, business operations, misunderstanding of data privacy policies, etc. Most of these violations fall under insufficient legal basis for data processing which in the EU has increased the total amount of fines in 2020 & 2021. The cumulative amount of GDPR fines proved that there is a large gap between EU countries in terms of data ethics and legal data collection and processing methods. The largest gap from January 2020 until July 2021 remains between Austria and Italy. The fastest way to reduce this gap is by having Austrian and Italian local data authorities cooperate into making parallel local laws and mutual sensibilization compaigns for Data Controllers and Processors. The purpose would be reducing the GDPR penalties’ volume during Covid-19 crisis where data became the most valuable asset. Some individuals / organizations misinterpret the GDPR as an ethical choice. But, if everyone undermines data protection laws, nobody will be safe again.
- Source: GDPR Enforcement Tracker
- URL: https://www.enforcementtracker.com/
- Publisher: CMS.Law (data protection law firm)
- Retrieved: July 27th, 2021.
- Last Update: July 31st, 2021. (It’s weekly updated by the CMS)
- Description: The CMS.Law GDPR Enforcement Tracker is an overview of fines and penalties which data protection authorities within the EU have imposed under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The aim is to keep the list as up-to-date as possible.
As seen on DataEthics4All, GumGum is a global technology and media company specializing in contextual intelligence. For over a decade, GumGum has applied our proven machine learning expertise to extract value from digital content for the advertising and sports industries.
Targeting that’s twice as smart
Verity™, the artificial intelligence at the heart of our platform, delivers the industry’s most sophisticated contextual targeting without sacrificing brand safety or campaign reach.
About the Company.
GumGum is a global technology and media company specializing in contextual intelligence. For over a decade, GumGum has applied our proven machine learning expertise to extract value from digital content for the advertising and sports industries. For advertisers, GumGum offers a full suite of pioneering future-proof solutions. The company’s contextual advertising engine, Verity™, comprehends the meaning of text, images and video online, allowing marketers to safely and precisely place ads where people are most engaged. Combining that contextual targeting and brand safety intelligence with proprietary high-impact ad formats, GumGum’s advertising solutions deliver industry leading efficiency, accuracy and performance.
GumGum’s contextual intelligence platform is the main product of the company. The product offers each of these features to your convenience:
Find the perfect placements with confidence: Verity™ enables the highest degree of customization, providing signals for the IAB’s most recent content taxonomy, major seasonal events, and sentiments expressed.
Keep your brand safe with pre-bid protection: Verity™ scans digital content for offensive text and imagery and filters for eligible inventory based on your brand’s unique safety concerns—before an ad is served. Rest assured you’ll stay safe while maximizing reach.
Respect privacy and future proof your campaigns: You can safely say goodbye to cookies with Verity™. Their technology relies on contextual data, not the behavioral data cookies collect. Stay on the right side of evolving privacy regulations because your contextual campaigns are firmly within bounds.
Otter – where conversations live
Otter for Education is a new version of Otter Voice Meeting Notes—live transcription note-taking—designed for universities and other higher-level education institutions. It adds integrated account management, reporting, and enterprise billing with the award-winning Otter application.
About the Company.
AI for everyday conversations
Otter.ai creates technologies and products that make information from important voice conversations instantly accessible and actionable. They’re passionate about devising new ways to improve individual and team performance in business, classroom, and life. They’re a team of tech industry veterans who have led the development of technologies in mobile, search, speech, and data analytics at companies like Google, Facebook, Uber, Cisco, and Nuance.
Otter Business: Otter.ai frees you from taking notes at meetings, by automatically joining selected meetings, and producing live transcriptions that you and other participants can annotate and highlight in real-time.
As seen on DataEthics4All, Kanverse Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) reduces document processing cycle time from hours to seconds, optimizes operations cost, and turbocharges productivity by freeing up staff from repetitive and manual tasks.