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Legislation

Portugal, Lei n.º 27/2021, de 17 de maio / Law no. 27/2021 of May 17th

Full reference
Carta Portuguesa de Direitos Humanos na Era Digital - Lei n.º 27/2021, de 17 de maio (Portuguese Charter on Human Rights in the Digital Age - Law no. 27/2021 of May 17th)
Legislator/regulator
Assembleia da República / Portuguese Parliament
Institutional level
National level
Number
27/2021
Date
Type of Source
National legislation
Source national detail
Primary legislation
Stage of drafting
Approved
Territorial scope
National
Project area
AI and public administration
AI and health
AI and consumer markets
AI and data protection
Cross sector, general scope
Law area
Fundamental rights protection

Summary of the law

The Portuguese Charter on Human Rights in the Digital Age was approved by the Portuguese Parliament and promulgated on May 17, 2021. It consists of 21 articles that establish various rights, freedoms and guarantees for citizens in the digital context, namely:

  1. Free Access to the Internet: Everyone has the right to free access to the Internet, regardless of ancestry, gender, race, language, religion, among other factors.
  2. Gender Equality and Digital Skills: The state must promote gender equality and digital skills programs.
  3. Connectivity: It must guarantee quality connectivity throughout the national territory, including areas of low population density.
  4. Social Tariff for Internet Access: A social tariff should be created for economically vulnerable customers.
  5. Combating Disinformation and Protecting Consumers: Measures should be adopted to combat illegal content and protect digitally vulnerable consumers.
  6. Constitutionally Protected Rights of Personality and Freedoms: The Charter covers rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, assembly, demonstration and the development of digital skills.
Specific provision(s) regarding AI and health
Artigo 9.º
Uso da inteligência artificial e de robôs
1 - A utilização da inteligência artificial deve ser orientada pelo respeito dos direitos fundamentais, garantindo um justo equilíbrio entre os princípios da explicabilidade, da segurança, da transparência e da responsabilidade, que atenda às circunstâncias de cada caso concreto e estabeleça processos destinados a evitar quaisquer preconceitos e formas de discriminação.
2 - As decisões com impacto significativo na esfera dos destinatários que sejam tomadas mediante o uso de algoritmos devem ser comunicadas aos interessados, sendo suscetíveis de recurso e auditáveis, nos termos previstos na lei.
3 - São aplicáveis à criação e ao uso de robôs os princípios da beneficência, da não-maleficência, do respeito pela autonomia humana e pela justiça, bem como os princípios e valores consagrados no artigo 2.º do Tratado da União Europeia, designadamente a não discriminação e a tolerância.
//
Article 9
Use of artificial intelligence and robots
1 - The use of artificial intelligence must be guided by respect for fundamental rights, ensuring a fair balance between the principles of explainability, security, transparency and accountability, taking into account the circumstances of each specific case and establishing procedures to avoid any prejudice or discrimination.
2 - Decisions with a significant impact on the sphere of recipients that are taken using algorithms must be communicated to the interested parties and be subject to appeal and audit, under the terms provided for by law.
3 - The principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for human autonomy and justice, as well as the principles and values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, namely non-discrimination and tolerance, shall apply to the creation and use of robots.

Artigo 12.º
Direito à identidade e outros direitos pessoais
3 - Fora dos casos previstos na lei, é proibida qualquer forma de utilização de código bidimensional ou de dimensão superior para tratar e difundir informação sobre o estado de saúde ou qualquer outro aspeto relacionado com a origem racial ou étnica, as opiniões políticas, as convicções religiosas ou filosóficas, ou a filiação sindical, bem como dados genéticos, dados biométricos ou dados relativos à vida sexual ou orientação sexual de uma pessoa.
//
Article 12
Right to identity and other personal rights
3 - Apart from the cases provided for by law, any form of use of two-dimensional or larger codes to process and disseminate information on the state of health or any other aspect related to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, as well as genetic data, biometric data or data relating to a person's sex life or sexual orientation, shall be prohibited.
Specific provision(s) regarding AI and data protection
Artigo 12.º
Direito à identidade e outros direitos pessoais
3 - Fora dos casos previstos na lei, é proibida qualquer forma de utilização de código bidimensional ou de dimensão superior para tratar e difundir informação sobre o estado de saúde ou qualquer outro aspeto relacionado com a origem racial ou étnica, as opiniões políticas, as convicções religiosas ou filosóficas, ou a filiação sindical, bem como dados genéticos, dados biométricos ou dados relativos à vida sexual ou orientação sexual de uma pessoa.
//
Article 12
Right to identity and other personal rights
3 - Apart from the cases provided for by law, any form of use of two-dimensional or larger codes to process and disseminate information on the state of health or any other aspect related to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, as well as genetic data, biometric data or data relating to a person's sex life or sexual orientation, shall be prohibited.
Personal scope of the instrument
Unspecified addressees
Material scope of the instrument

The law aims to ensure that fundamental rights are respected in the digital environment, promoting a fairer and more inclusive society.

AI system(s) involved
  • All types of AI systems
Initiative
  • Parliament
Fundamental rights involved
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of information
  • Right to data protection
  • Right to non-discrimination
Principles expressly applied
  • Equality
  • Non-discrimination
  • Rule of law
  • Transparency
Enforcement
In case of violation of standards, rules and principles, people can access to the already existent forms of protection, such as popular actions, civil actions and others

Case author
Sandra Passinhas; Marta Bastos Graça
Professor; PhD Candidate
Universidade de Coimbra