For the first time, the EU Commission is proposing a targeted harmonization of national liability rules for AI, making it easier for victims of AI-related damage to get recourse and compensation. This is in-line with and will complement the directly effective AI Act proposal that currently being hammered-out by the EU regulatory machinery.
The scope covers, for example, breaches of privacy, or damages caused by safety issues. The new rules will, for instance, make it easier to obtain compensation if a job seeker has been discriminated in a recruitment process involving AI technology.
The Directive simplifies the legal process for victims of AI-related damage by introducing two important features. First, there is a ‘presumption of causality’ in circumstances where a relevant fault has been established and a causal link to the AI performance seems reasonably likely. Second, a right of access to evidence from companies and suppliers is stipulated where high-risk AI systems are involved.
This means a broader protection of victims who will have more access to information and will be alleviated of the burden of proof in relation to damages caused by AI systems.
The aim is to strike a balance between protecting consumers and fostering innovation, removing additional barriers for victims to access compensation, while laying down guarantees for the AI sector by introducing the right to fight a liability claim based on a presumption of causality.
For providers of AI systems, this means an increased need to ensure that a responsible AI compliance muscle is in place.