UCL European Institute


Artificial Intelligence, Privacy and Big Tech: Europe's Response

03 June 2019, 12:45 pm–2:00 pm


A conversation with Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

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UCL European Institute


Bentham House, UCL Faculty of Laws
4-8 Endsleigh Gardens
United Kingdom


Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, is at the forefront of regulating the digital economy, with a view to protecting fundamental rights and democratic values. She will deliver a keynote lecture on the EU’s approach to technology regulation in the coming years.

Digital technologies, underpinned by internet platforms, big data, sophisticated algorithms, and immense computing power have transformed the global economy and human society. Today's tech giants are more valuable, wealthy, and powerful than any previous companies. 

Such technologies bring immense opportunity, from AI-based advances in healthcare, to more sustainable sensor-driven smart cities. However, attention is increasingly focused on the societal risks and associated problems. Machine learning algorithms making mortgage or employment decisions may be more efficient, but the outcomes might be unjust. Facebook and WhatsApp enabling free and instant global communication may improve millions of lives, but major data breaches or political targeting can be problematic.

The EU is at the forefront of regulating the digital economy, and takes a more hard-line approach than most other major jurisdictions. For example, it considers the right to privacy and data protection a fundamental human right. The GDPR is one of the most comprehensive privacy law regimes ever implemented, and it is having a truly global effect. The EU has also taken a combative approach to regulating big tech companies in other policy areas, and has been willing to issue large fines to companies like Google and Apple. Nonetheless, the speed of technological innovation means that it can be difficult for policymakers and governments to keep pace. 


  • Věra Jourová - EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
  • Dr Nathan Lea - Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Health Informatics
  • Oliver Patel (chair) - Research Associate, UCL European Institute

Organised by the UCL European Institute.

Free entry, lunch served from 12.45pm
13.00 - 13.30: Věra Jourová lecture
13.30 - 14.00: Audience Q&A

Image credit: Ivan Marc, Shutterstock