The Council of Europe’s mission is to guide its member States towards a better protection of human rights, in accordance with the values of democracy and the rule of law. The Organisation has already produced landmark international legal instruments in the field of regulation of digital technologies as early as 1981 with Convention 108 on data protection – modernised in 2018 – or the Budapest Convention on the fight against cybercrime in 2001.
Within its mandate, the Council of Europe combines a specialised and vertical approach with a general and horizontal approach. Most sectors, bodies and committees have included in their programmes activities related to measuring the impact of AI. In parallel, the Committee of Ministers mandated in September 2019 an Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) to examine the feasibility of a legal instrument and its elements.
With regard to the specialised approach, the Council of Europe website dedicated to AI lists all the activities carried out and in progress, with a direct link to the instruments, studies and reports produced.
In September 2019, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe set up the Ad hoc committee on artificial intelligence – CAHAI for a 2 years mandate.
Under the authority of the Committee of Ministers, the CAHAI is instructed to examine the feasibility and potential elements on the basis of broad multi-stakeholder consultations, of a legal framework for the development, design and application of artificial intelligence, based on the Council of Europe’s standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.