Meaningful information and the right to explanation

Andrew D Selbst, Julia Powles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Citations (Scopus)


This article enters into the fierce debate over whether there is a “right to explanation” in Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We argue that the text of the GDPR and the spirit of the legislation clearly support such a right. In particular, Articles 13-15 provide rights to “meaningful information about the logic involved” in automated decisions. This is a right to explanation, whether one uses the phrase or not.

The right to explanation should be interpreted functionally, flexibly, and should, at a minimum, enable a data subject to exercise his or her rights under the GDPR and human rights law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Data Privacy Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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