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Artificial intelligence, machine learning and privacy: From threats to solutions


Ontario Tech University (a.k.a. University of Ontario Institute of Technology)



Project Leader(s)

Khalil El-Khatib (Principal Investigator) and Rajen Akalu (Co-Principal Investigator)


Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of several modern approaches to achieve human-equivalent machine intelligence. It is described as a field of study focused on creating intelligent entities, with numerous applications in various domains including security, commerce, and intelligent transportation systems. Machine learning (ML) is a tool to help create and implement artificial intelligence systems and leans heavily on statistical methods to accomplish its goals. While an artificial intelligence system may perceive its environment with sensors and take actions with actuators, machine learning enables the system to learn from data collected from these sensors.

Despite the fact that there are numerous perceived benefits for developing human-equivalent machine intelligence, such as fostering the rapid development of human technological advancement, there are also a number of public concerns about the technology ranging from economic instability to apocalyptic scenarios. AI and ML systems are subject to various threats including reconstruction, model inversion, membership and de-anonymization threats.

This project explored the known and new privacy risks associated with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The researchers surveyed the literature and provided various scenarios for the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning and highlighted the potential risks to privacy. The project identified as well a number of various mitigating strategies to eliminate or reduce the privacy risks.

Project deliverables are available in the following language(s)


OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information

Khalil El-Khatib, Professor
Director, Institute for Cybersecurity and Resilient Systems (ICRS)
Faculty of Business and Information Technology
Ontario Tech University
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5
Telephone: (905) 721-8668, ext. 5390

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