17

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Towards a binding international treaty on business and human rights

08-11-2018

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has brought numerous opportunities while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, and a lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding ...

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has brought numerous opportunities while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, and a lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding corporate interests. This situation has created a pressing need to establish international norms regulating business operations in relation to human rights. So far, the preferred approach has been 'soft', consisting of the adoption of voluntary guidelines for businesses. Several sets of such norms exist at international level, the most notable being the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Nevertheless, while such voluntary commitments are clearly useful, they cannot entirely stop gross human rights violations (such as child labour, labour rights violations and land grabbing) committed by transnational corporations, their subsidiaries or suppliers. To address the shortcomings of the soft approach, an intergovernmental working group was established within the United Nations framework in June 2014, with the task of drafting a binding treaty on human rights and business. After being reluctant at the outset, the EU has become involved in the negotiations, but has insisted that the future treaty's scope should include all businesses, not only transnational ones. The 'Zero Draft' published in July does not reflect the EU's position on this point. It has been welcomed by experts for its more precise focus on prevention, on effective remedies and access to justice for victims, and on companies' liability for their subsidiaries and suppliers in third countries. The European Parliament is a staunch supporter of this initiative and has encouraged the EU to take a positive and constructive approach. This is a further updated edition of a Briefing published in April 2018, PE 620.229.

Sexual and reproductive health rights and the implication of conscientious objection

31-10-2018

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent to which conscientious objection affects access to sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR). The study will contribute to formulating a clear framework for the improvement of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods and services in the EU.

Externe Autor

CF Consulting Services Ltd Ludovica ANEDDA, Lucy ARORA, Luca FAVERO, Nathalie MEURENS, Sophie MOREL, Martha SCHOFIELD (ICF); Senios experts: Prof Anette AGARDH (Lund University), Prof Els LEYE, independent consultant (Ghent University); National researchers: Czech Republic: Klara KOVAROVA (ICF); Croatia: Jelena MILOVANOVIC (ICF); Italy: Thomas TAYLOR-DI PIETRO, Ludovica ANEDDA (ICF); Poland: Krystyna KACPURA, Kamila FERENC (Federation for Women and Family Planning); Portugal: Dália COSTA (University of Lisbon); Sweden: Jack PALMIERI (Lund University).

Cross-Border Exchange and Comparison of Forensic DNA Data in the Context of the Prüm Decision

07-06-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime. Finally, based on the analysis, it provides the policy recommendations.

Externe Autor

Dr. Victor TOOM

Understanding artificial intelligence

11-01-2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems already permeate daily life: they drive cars, decide on mortgage applications, translate texts, recognise faces on social networks, identify spam emails, create artworks, play games, and intervene in conflict zones. The AI revolution that began in the 2000s emerged from the combination of machine learning techniques and 'big data'. The algorithms behind these systems work by identifying statistical correlation in the data they analyse, enabling them to perform ...

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems already permeate daily life: they drive cars, decide on mortgage applications, translate texts, recognise faces on social networks, identify spam emails, create artworks, play games, and intervene in conflict zones. The AI revolution that began in the 2000s emerged from the combination of machine learning techniques and 'big data'. The algorithms behind these systems work by identifying statistical correlation in the data they analyse, enabling them to perform tasks for which intelligence is required if a human were to perform them. Nevertheless, data-driven AI can only perform one task at a time, and cannot transfer its knowledge. 'Strong AI', able to display human-like intelligence and common sense, and which might be able to set its own goals, is not yet within reach. Despite the fears portrayed in film and TV entertainment, the idea of a 'superintelligence' able to self-improve and dominate humans remains an esoteric possibility, as development of strong AI systems is not predicted for a few decades or more, if indeed development ever reaches this stage. Nevertheless, the development of data-driven AI systems implies adaptation of legal frameworks on the collection, use and storage of data, due to privacy and other issues. Bias in data supplied to AI systems can also reproduce or amplify bias in the decisions they make. However, the key issue remains the level of autonomy given to AI systems to make decisions that could be life-changing, keeping in mind that they only provide recommendations, that they do not understand the tasks they perform, and that there is no way to know how they reach their conclusions. AI systems are expected to impact society, especially the job market, and could increase inequalities. To counter the abuse of probabilistic prediction and the risks to privacy, in April 2016 the European Parliament and the Council of the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation. The European Parliament also requested an update of the Union legal framework on robotics and AI in February 2017.

Forward-looking policy-making at the European Parliament through scientific foresight

31-08-2017

The European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, supported by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), decided two years ago to experiment with a process involving scenario development and assessment to explore possible future techno-scientific developments and their potential impacts, while backcasting possible future opportunities and concerns to options available to policy-makers today. This was achieved with the involvement of experts from a variety of backgrounds ...

The European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, supported by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), decided two years ago to experiment with a process involving scenario development and assessment to explore possible future techno-scientific developments and their potential impacts, while backcasting possible future opportunities and concerns to options available to policy-makers today. This was achieved with the involvement of experts from a variety of backgrounds, together with stakeholders, using a multi-perspective approach. In this setting, various types of possible impacts are explored, which provide the foundations for imagined exploratory scenarios. From these scenarios we can learn about the possible challenges and opportunities arising from them. By communicating these challenges and opportunities to the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), together with related legal and ethical reflections, the MEPs are provided with potential insights into how to anticipate future policy issues. The MEPs might thus be able to identify options for working towards the most desirable futures and avoiding undesirable futures, and even for anticipating undesirable scenarios. Therefore, foresight-based policy preparation can help the European Parliament stay well prepared for what might lie ahead, allowing informed, anticipatory action.

Studie für den CULT-Ausschuss – Vermittlung gemeinsamer Werte in Europa

15-03-2017

Die Rolle der Zivilgesellschaft und von nichtstaatlichen Organisationen wird ebenfalls berücksichtigt. In Länderkapiteln wird die Situation in zwölf EU-Mitgliedstaaten erläutert und dargelegt, dass sich die allgemeinen politischen Ziele und die konkreten Umsetzungsmaßnahmen sowie Strategie und Praxis in vielen Fallen erheblich unterscheiden.

Die Rolle der Zivilgesellschaft und von nichtstaatlichen Organisationen wird ebenfalls berücksichtigt. In Länderkapiteln wird die Situation in zwölf EU-Mitgliedstaaten erläutert und dargelegt, dass sich die allgemeinen politischen Ziele und die konkreten Umsetzungsmaßnahmen sowie Strategie und Praxis in vielen Fallen erheblich unterscheiden.

Externe Autor

University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht: Wiel Veugelers, Isolde de Groot, Vincent Stolk ; Authors case studies: Antoine Bevort, Gert Biesta, Maria Rosa Buxarrais, Emilian Colceru, Isolde de Groot & Wiel Veugelers, Inken Heldt & Dirk Lange, Pavla Karba, Anastasia Kesidou, Barbara Malak-Minkiewicz & Jerzy Wiśniewski, Dana Moree, Heidi Paju, Kirsi Tirri

Provisions governing the activity of high political office-holders in election or selection processes: A comparative analysis of the provisions and practices in the EU, its Member States and selected international organisations

16-02-2017

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of ...

In its resolution of 28 April 2016 on the discharge procedure for the year 2014, the European Parliament instructed the European Parliamentary Research Service to undertake a study including 'a comparative analysis of the legal framework governing the compatibilities of candidates who run for election campaigns in other international organisations and in the Member States (election of prime minister, secretary general, chancellor, etc.)'. This study therefore examines relevant rules on the use of public resources by high political office-holders in electoral/selection processes at EU, international and EU Member State level. An initial version of this study was delivered to the Members of the Committee on Budgetary Control in October 2016. This revised version incorporates some minor changes following final verifications. Nonetheless, the information in this study does not reflect any further possible recent changes in any individual Member State.

What if I had to put my safety in the hands of a robot?

18-11-2016

Will intelligent robots bring us benefits in relation to security and safety, or will the vulnerabilities within these systems mean that they cause more problems than they solve? Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are currently found in a wide range of services and applications, and their numbers are rapidly increasing. CPS are intelligent robotic systems linked to the Internet of Things. They make decisions based on the ability to sense their environment. Their actions have a physical impact on either ...

Will intelligent robots bring us benefits in relation to security and safety, or will the vulnerabilities within these systems mean that they cause more problems than they solve? Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are currently found in a wide range of services and applications, and their numbers are rapidly increasing. CPS are intelligent robotic systems linked to the Internet of Things. They make decisions based on the ability to sense their environment. Their actions have a physical impact on either the environment or themselves. This is what sets CPS apart: they are not solely smart systems, but rather, they have physical aspects to them. These robots are likely to infiltrate our everyday lives in the coming years. Due to this, we must look at what impact they will have on citizens’ safety and security. The question remains, how safe are these technologies?

European Civil Law Rules in Robotics

12-10-2016

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee commissioned this study to evaluate and analyse, from a legal and ethical perspective, a number of future European civil law rules in robotics.

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee commissioned this study to evaluate and analyse, from a legal and ethical perspective, a number of future European civil law rules in robotics.

Ethical Aspects of Cyber-Physical Systems

28-06-2016

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things, or technical systems of networked computers, robots and artificial intelligence that interact with the physical world.The project 'Ethical aspects of CPS' aims to provide insights into the potential ethical concerns and related unintended impacts of the possible evolution of CPS technology by 2050. The overarching purpose is to support the European Parliament, the parliamentary bodies, and the individual ...

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things, or technical systems of networked computers, robots and artificial intelligence that interact with the physical world.The project 'Ethical aspects of CPS' aims to provide insights into the potential ethical concerns and related unintended impacts of the possible evolution of CPS technology by 2050. The overarching purpose is to support the European Parliament, the parliamentary bodies, and the individual Members in their anticipation of possible future concerns regarding developments in CPS, robotics and artificial intelligence.The Scientific Foresight study was conducted in three phases:1. A 'technical horizon scan', in the form of briefing papers describing the technical trends and their possible societal, ethical, economic, environmental, political/legal and demographic impacts, and this in seven application domains. 2. The 'soft impact and scenario phase', which analysed soft impacts of CPS, on the basis of the technical horizon scan, for pointing out possible future public concerns via an envisioning exercise and using exploratory scenarios.3. The 'legal backcasting' phase, which resulted in a briefing for the European Parliament identifying the legal instruments that may need to be modified or reviewed, including — where appropriate — areas identified for anticipatory parliamentary work, in accordance with the conclusions reached within the project.The outcome of the study is a policy briefing for MEPs describing legal instruments to anticipate impacts of future developments in the area of cyber-physical systems, such as intelligent robotics systems, linked with the Internet of Things. It is important to note that not all impacts of CPS are easily translated into legislation, as it is often contested whether they are in effect harmful, who is to be held accountable, and to what extent these impacts constitute a public rather than a private concern.

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