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European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency
ECAT expert workshop

18-19 April 2023, Seville

Scientists and experts working at ECAT will cooperate with industry representatives, academia, and civil society organisations to improve our understanding of how algorithms work: they will analyse transparency, assess risks, and propose new transparent approaches and best practices.

In this physical workshop after the main event, interested partners and experts from other organisations will have the opportunity to present their work and interact with the ECAT team and other participants, to start building a community ensuring a broad-based, collective approach to algorithmic transparency. 


Location: International School of Seville, San Francisco de Paula. Main hall.

18 April

  1. 16:00
    Welcome and introduction

    by Emilia Gómez, Lead Scientist, ECAT

  2. 16:10
    Oral session
    • Lead AI Transparency Research Project. Ramak Molavi Vasse'I, AI Transparency Research Lead, Mozilla
    • Adversarial auditing for public oversight. John Albert, Policy & Advocacy Manager, AlgorithmWatch
    • NeEDS – Network of European Data Scientists: Data Scientists from academia and industry working together, Emilio Carrizosa, Professor of Operations Research and Statistics, University of Seville
    • Economic impacts of the DSA. Nestor Duch-Brown, Senior researcher, Joint Research Centre, European Commission.
  3. 17:45
  4. 18:00
    End of day 1

19 April

  1. 9:15
  2. 9:30
    Discussion session - Data access

    Moderator: Jõao Vinagre, Scientific officer, ECAT

    • Camilla Penzo, Data scientist, Pôle D'Expertise de la Régulation Numérique | PEReN
    • Krishna Gummadi, Director at Max Planck Institute and ELLIS Fellow
    • Contributions from participants
  3. 10:30
  4. 11:00
    Discussion session – Audits

    Moderator: Delia Fano-Yela, Scientific Officer, ECAT

    • Rumman Chowdhury, Responsible AI Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University
    • Mireia Orra i De Salsas, Eticas
    • Contributions from participants
  5. 12:00
  6. 12:30
    End of day 2


  • Lead AI Transparency Research Project. Ramak Molavi Vasse'I, AI Transparency Research Lead, Mozilla

Download the presentation

​​​​​This presentation provides an exploration of the findings from our study on AI Transparency in Practice. Our research uncovered a number of critical challenges facing the development and implementation of transparent AI systems, including a lack of prioritization for transparency by leadership, low motivation and incentives for transparency, "lack of standards and regulation" and low confidence in existing explainability tools. We also found that developers struggle to provide appropriate explanations to stakeholders and that there is a significant discrepancy between the information currently provided and what is actually useful and recommended.

  • Adversarial auditing for public oversight. John Albert, Policy & Advocacy Manager, AlgorithmWatch

Download the presentation

As an organization, we are convinced that civil society needs to be involved in fostering transparency and accountability on the use of algorithmic systems – focusing, inter alia, on online platforms. This should enable public oversight and thus an evidence-based debate on their impact on individuals and society at large. To do so, we need to develop approaches to comprehensive adversarial approaches to auditing algorithmic systems – by using what e.g. the DSA offers through e.g. its data access provision, but also by identifying where the DSA's limits lies and continuing advocacy efforts, be it in the sphere of platform governance or beyond.

  • NeEDS - Network of European Data Scientists: Data Scientists from academia and industry working together. Prof. Emilio Carrizosa, Professor of Operations Research and Statistics, University of Seville

Download the presentation

NeEDS is a network funded by the EU’s H2020 research and innovation programme under a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. It consists of 6 academic and 9 industrial participants from 5 EU countries, USA and Chile. Participants combine strong and complementary expertise, within industry sectors ranging from energy, retailing, insurance to banking, as well as national statistical offices. With this composition, NeEDS is in a unique position to deliver cutting-edge multidisciplinary research to advance academic thinking on Data Science in Europe, and to improve the Data Science capabilities of industry and the public sector. Actions promoted by the network will be described.

  • Economic impacts of the DSA. Nestor Duch-Brown, Senior Researcher, Joint Research Centre

​​​​​​​Download the presentation

In this contribution we look at the upcoming changes in the EU platform regulation. More specifically, we focus on the Digital Services Act (DSA) from the competition perspective. The DSA is less frequently discussed from this perspective compared to its companion regulation: the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which explicitly aims to increase contestability of digital markets. We argue that the DSA, via the modification of liability rules for the platforms, may also bring competitive effects to the platform economy. To set the scene we discuss why an update of liability regime was necessary in the first place. Then we conjecture how platforms may adapt to the new rules and argue that more content screening can be expected. Finally we hypothesize how the DSA may affect competition between large and small platforms via changes in content curation behavior. We sketch conditions under which the existing differences in size between the platforms could decrease leading to a more balanced market landscape.

  • Discussion session – data access

The European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA), which recently entered into force, establishes in Article 40 the obligation for providers of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) - those with more than 45 million users in the EU - to provide data access to  vetted researchers, for the purpose of conducting research that contributes to the detection, identification and understanding of systemic risks, such as discrimination or the spreading of disinformation. VLOPs and VLOSEs must also facilitate access to publicly available real-time data to researchers that meet a set of conditions. In this session we will discuss opportunities and challenges related to data access for researchers in the context of their research on systemic risks linked to online platforms, including novel research opportunities, technical, legal and governance considerations.

  • Discussion session – audits

Auditing plays a central role in the Digital Services Act (DSA). Providers of very large online platforms and very large online search engines will be accountable through independent auditing for their compliance with the obligations laid down in this new European regulation. Article 37 of the DSA requires such providers to be subject, at least once a year, to independent audits to assess compliance, outputting an audit report to be transmitted to the Commission, the competent national authority and to be made publicly available. Furthermore, per Article 72, external experts and auditors can additionally be appointed to assist the Commission in monitoring the effective implementation and compliance with the relevant provisions of the DSA and to provide specific expertise or knowledge. In this session we aim to discuss the current auditing landscape in the context of the needs laid out in the DSA.