Expert panel on technology confirms terms of reference

A newly established independent expert panel, set up to advise Police on technology matters, has confirmed the way it will operate.

As announced in March, the panel has been formed to provide advice and oversight of Police’s use of emergent technologies from an ethical and policy perspective. The six-member panel is chaired by Professor Colin Gavaghan from Otago University.

The confirmed terms of reference outline the key areas of focus of the panel which include advising the Commissioner of Police on:

• Proposals for Police to test or trial an emergent technology, or a significant new functionality within an existing technology, which are referred to it for assessment.

• Algorithms used by Police (to ensure privacy, human rights and ethics interests are appropriately safeguarded, and any unintended consequences are identified), in line with the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand, which are referred to it for peer review.

Mark Evans, Police’s Deputy Chief Executive: Insights and Deployment, welcomed the progress being made by the panel.

“Technology enables us to police more effectively and innovatively but we have a duty of care to ensure that privacy, ethical, and human rights implications have been considered before we trial or introduce any new technology capabilities,” says Mark.

“The panel met for the first time in April”, Professor Gavaghan confirms. “As well as reviewing the terms of reference for the panel’s work, we also considered the first request for our advice – on a stocktake that’s been done around Police’s use of algorithms.”

That advice is expected to be provided back to Police in the near future.

You can view the expert panel’s Terms of Reference on the Police website at: https://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/programmes-initiatives/police-use-em…

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