JURI recommendations on liability regime for AI adopt concept of ‘frontend operator’ and ‘backend operator’


On 5th of October 2020, the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament issued its report with recommendations to the Commission on a civil liability regime for artificial intelligence, referring to concepts on strict operator liability developed by Christiane Wendehorst.

Alongside two other reports focussing on ethical aspects of AI and intellectual property protection of AI with the aim to boost innovation, a legislative initiative on a civil liability regime now aims at making operators of high-risk AI liable when the AI causes damage. The liability framework should protect European citizens, lead to better legal certainty and support innovative projects in the field of AI. The regime mainly focuses on claims against the operators of high-risk AI technology and should be applicable to various types of damage (e.g. health, property, even non-material damage if it results in “verifiable substantial economic loss”).

Christiane Wendehorst has shaped some of the key concepts mentioned in the report, notably the terms "frontend operator" and "backend operator". She developed these concepts during her work with the Expert Group on Liability and Emerging Technologies – New Technology Formation.

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