AI expert says that MGA sandbox is a crime fighter

Posted: Jan 09, 2023 08:32 Category: Online , Payments , Regulatory , Posted by Lea Hogg

Alexiei Dingli, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Malta  speaking to SiGMA News said, “Once the sandbox framework is rolled out by Malta Gaming Authority,  it will be expected to significantly impact crime mitigation through its ability to facilitate the development, testing, and validation of innovative AI systems that adhere to AI regulations.”.

We are familiar with a child´s sandbox, where sand and toys are kept in a small container so kids can play safely. The term ´sandbox’ has now been borrowed to describe a private digital environment that allows you to analyse data without ceding control. With the sandboxing approach, every software application is given a controlled, restricted ecosystem to run and execute code.  

Crime Mitigation

Professor Dingli explains that another potential opportunity is implementing facial recognition technology for law enforcement. By providing a controlled environment for development and testing he adds that “the sandbox will ensure that it is used ethically and in compliance with regulations rather than potentially violating the privacy of individuals or, worst still, exhibiting some sort of bias.”

Professor Alexiei Dingli
Professor Alexiei Dingli

Additionally, the sandbox will provide a platform for creating best practice guidelines and other supporting materials to help companies, particularly SMEs and start-ups, implement rules on using AI responsibly and ethically. This will ensure that AI is not used for criminal purposes, creating fake news or manipulating personal data.

The AI sandbox will also help mitigate crime through the documentation and implementation of obligations for AI system providers and by offering supervising national authorities methods for control and follow-up. This will help ensure that AI use is transparent and accountable, reducing the potential for criminal activity.

Overall says Professor Dingli “the AI sandbox framework will play a crucial role in promoting the responsible and ethical use of AI in crime mitigation through its ability to facilitate the development, testing, and validation of innovative AI systems, provide best practice guidelines and other supporting materials and ensure the documentation and implementation of obligations for AI system providers.”


Malta: In 2018 The Malta Gaming Authority published details on its sandbox framework which would facilitate the acceptance of virtual financial assets and virtual tokens and the use of innovative technology arrangements within the gaming industry.  The framework is divided into two phases. The first phase would accept applications for the use of DLT assets as a method of payment.  In the second phase the sandbox will extend applications for the use of ITAs. In a statement released in December 2022, MGA advised that the applicability of the Sandbox Regulator Framework has been extended to 28 February 2023.

UK: In collaboration with The City of London, the UK´s Financial Conduct Authority has recently completed a pilot called Digital Sandbox which provides data access and a digital testing environment to help innovative businesses develop a proof of concept.

Fintech update

In an   interview with SiGMA News Dr Joe Borg, a lawyer who specialises in the Fintech and Gaming sectors explained how the framework will attract more operators and gamers to the Malta jurisdiction.

Professor Alexiei Dingli heads the Artificial Intelligence Department within the Faculty of ICT at the University of Malta.


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