Logo and page links

Main menu

These four are to be sandbox pioneers in privacy friendly AI

The Data Protection Authority have chosen the first four projects that will participate in the regulatory sandbox for responsible artificial intelligence. In the sandbox, they will explore a regulatory challenging terrain.

The four projects are:

  • Age Labs: Use of machine learning to develop predictive diagnostics for age-related illness.
  • KS (The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities): Analyze students' data from various learning tools, to help teachers adapt teaching and assessment work to students' individual needs.
  • NAV (The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration): Use of machine learning to predict the length of sick leave to make follow-up actions more effective.
  • Secure Practice: map employees with regard to the cyber security risk they pose to the company, to be able to adapt measures.

- We are happy for the opportunity to be a pioneer in the sandbox. It is important for us to drive privacy innovation at the same time as we drive technological innovation, says Erlend Andreas Gjære, CEO of Secure Practice.

- I am surprised that we were selected, because the applicant list is full of good candidates, says Karl Trygve Kalleberg, CEO of Age Labs.

Many sectors

Age Labs and Secure Practice, together with KS and NAV, were the four applicants who finally got through the eye of the needle.

- The projects represent both the public and private sector, mature and less mature projects, and well-established companies as well as small start-ups, says project manager Kari Laumann.

- It shows that there are companies and organizations from quite different sectors that want to participate in the sandbox, says director Bjørn Erik Thon of the Norwegian Data Protection Authority.

The regulatory sandbox is an initiative born from the Norwegian Government's National Strategy for AI that was launched in January 2020. The government wants to facilitate innovation, increased use and sharing of data, done in a responsible way. The regulatory sandbox at the Norwegian Data Protection Authority is an important tool in this work.

- I look forward to following the projects, which will help solve important challenges in society and be of benefit to individuals in different phases of life, says Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation Linda Hofstad Helleland.

Entering a minefield

The four projects represent health, welfare, education and business. NAV will use AI to predict length of sick leave, in order to concentrate efforts on those who probably requires the most follow-up. KS will create a learning tool that helps teachers give students better assessments and individually tailored assignments. Age Labs will apply machine learning to epigenetic data to detect future diseases. And Secure Practice will see how far into the minefield of profiling employees it is possible to get, without crossing the legal line.

- It is perhaps one of the most exciting things here, because we are entering a landscape we normally would keep out of, says Thon.

- Being admitted to the sandbox is not a stamp of approval or a guarantee that they will reach a goal with a result that we believe is acceptable from a privacy point of view. But I think it is very exciting if we discover that something basically challenging, intrusive and worrying, can be done in a way that does not violate privacy after all.

In competition with foreign AI technology from countries where privacy doesn't have the same position, Thon says it can be an advantage to offer good, Norwegian solutions that also take care of privacy.