Presented By O’Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
21–22 May 2018: Training
22–24 May 2018: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

How will the GDPR impact machine learning?

Steven Touw (Immuta)
11:1511:55 Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Data science and machine learning, Law, ethics, and governance
Location: Capital Suite 12 Level: Non-technical
Secondary topics:  Security and Privacy
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 4 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Data scientists, lawyers, and anyone with an interest in ML and regulation

What you'll learn

  • Understand how the GDPR will affect ML, along with larger regulatory challenges created by so-called “black box” models like deep neural nets
  • Explore other similar regulations that have addressed these same challenges, particularly within the financial sector in the EU and the US
  • Feel confident deploying ML within your organization while understanding the consequent regulatory risk


The Strata Data conference in London takes place during one of the most important weeks in the history of data regulation, as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) begins to be enforced. Steve Touw explores the effects of the GDPR on deploying machine learning models in the EU.

The GDPR contains a host of forward-leaning data provisions, but none are thornier than the so-called “right to explainability” and the constraints the GDPR imposes on machine learning. With fines of up to four percent of global revenue, organizations using EU data will literally not be able to afford to ignore these issues. Questions created by the GDPR include:

  • What types of explanations are required for ML models?
  • What rights do data subjects have when ML models user their data?
  • What types of documentation will data scientists need to provide when deploying ML within the EU?
  • What exactly constitutes “automated decision making” under the GDPR?

Steve focuses on the specific challenges created by the GDPR, the ambiguities around ML that regulators have left unaddressed, and what this means for every phase of the ML creation, testing, and deployment lifecycle.

Photo of Steven Touw

Steven Touw


Steve Touw is the cofounder and CTO of Immuta. Steve has a long history of designing large-scale geotemporal analytics across the US intelligence community, including some of the very first Hadoop analytics, as well as frameworks to manage complex multitenant data policy controls. He and his cofounders at Immuta drew on this real-world experience to build a software product to make data security and privacy controls easier. Previously, Steve was the CTO of 42six (acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation), where he led a large big data services engineering team. Steve holds a BS in geography from the University of Maryland.

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28/05/2018 13:39 BST

That is great, thanks a lot.

Picture of Steven Touw
Steven Touw | CTO
25/05/2018 14:03 BST

I’ve sent the slides to O’Reilly, so hopefully they will be posted soon. In the meantime, this article by my colleague Andrew Burt provides a good summary of the slides:

25/05/2018 11:53 BST


Your presentation was really nice and insightful, but sometimes the time was a little bit lacking to get the most out of your slides, would it be possible to get them ? Thanks!

Best regards,