St. Kitts And Nevis Champions Fair And Responsible Artificial Intelligence To Enhance Consumer Protection

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – As St Kitts and Nevis gears up to celebrate World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, 2024, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil L Douglas, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce & Consumer Affairs, has emphasised the importance of this year’s theme, “Fair and responsible AI for consumers.”

During his address to commence Consumer Awareness Week in St. Kitts and Nevis on March 10, Senior Minister Douglas highlighted the crucial role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in today’s digital world and its impact on consumer markets and privacy.

“Artificial Intelligence is not a vision of the future but is rather a reality that is currently being incorporated into and used across numerous industries which we utilise on a daily basis. This covers sectors such as banking, healthcare, criminal justice, national security, transportation, and features that support smart cities just to name a few,” he said while stressing the significance of understanding AI’s benefits and potential pitfalls, particularly in ways it may affect consumer privacy and create power imbalances in the market.

The consumer affairs minister highlighted that the obscure and intricate nature of AI technology could challenge the effective enforcement of consumer legislation.

“The unique qualities of AI technology such as opacity, complexity, unpredictability, and semi-autonomous behaviour, can also make it challenging to effectively enforce consumer legislation. As such, their decisions can’t be tracked nor verified to determine if the outcome was arrived at while remaining compliant with established laws,” the Right Honourable Dr. Douglas remarked.

In response to these challenges, St. Kitts and Nevis has taken proactive steps to modernise its consumer protection framework. On October 30, 2023, the Federation adopted the CARICOM Consumer Protection model legislation, passing it into law as the Consumer Protection Bill 2023. This legislation, alongside the Electronic Crimes Act 2009, the Electronic Transactions Act 2011, and the Data Protection Act 2018, aims to provide comprehensive protection for consumers in the digital age.

Dr. Douglas assured the business community that the government’s efforts to strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework would not hinder profitability but rather facilitate business development and expansion while ensuring a fair and transparent relationship between service providers and consumers.

As the Federation celebrates Consumer Rights Week, Senior Minister Douglas urged consumers to embrace their responsibility in fostering improvements in business practices.

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