Third cohort of AlgorithmWatch fellows will investigate discrimination in the financial sector

As part of AlgorithmWatch's algorithmic accountability reporting fellowship, seven journalists and researchers will work together to unveil discriminating outcomes and practices arising from the use of automated decision making systems in Europe's financial sector.


22 January 2024


Foto von Erol Ahmed auf Unsplash

Last year, AlgorithmWatch launched and hosted a successful fellowship on algorithmic accountability reporting that involved eleven journalists and researchers. Our program continues in 2024 with a new cohort of seven professionals who will research and report on automated discrimination in the financial sector, e.g., the use of sensitive technologies like face and emotion recognition by banks.

We received more than 70 applications by journalists, ethicists, lawyers, and data scientists from all around Europe, including the United Kingdom, Türkiye, and Ukraine. We are happy to introduce our new fellows:

Pablo Jimenez Arandia

Pablo is a freelance journalist specialized in the social and political impact of technology. He's the head behind several investigations on the use of AI and algorithms in the public and private sector, in which he worked with Lighthouse Reports, the American author Virginia Eubanks, and the government of Catalonia. He has also produced two documentary podcasts on the topic and has worked for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He is a regular contributor to Spanish outlets like El Confidencial and El Salto Diario and has also published previous research with AlgorithmWatch. During his fellowship, he will focus on discriminatory insurance practices in Spain.

Maryam Ahmed

Dr Maryam Ahmed is an award-winning Senior Data Scientist and Journalist at BBC News. She holds a PhD in engineering from the University of Oxford. Maryam's recent work has exposed algorithmic bias, online climate disinformation, and predatory debt advisors. In 2021, she won the Royal Statistical Society Award for Investigative Journalism. As a Google News Initiative Fellow, Maryam has developed AI driven tools to scrutinize politicians' financial interests. She has also published an analysis of Munich's housing market with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Alongside her journalism, she has lectured in Python for Data Science at University College London and Kings College London.

Yasir Gökce

Dr Yasir Gökce is the director of the Institute for Diplomacy and Economy (instituDE), an independent, research-driven NGO headquartered in Brussels. He received a PhD from Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. In his thesis, he inverstigated the intricate nexus of law, cyberspace, and information security. He also holds an MPA degree from Harvard University, an LL.M. degree from Ankara University, and an LL.B. degree from Bilkent University. Gökce was an in-house legal counsel in the International Law Department of the Turkish foreign service and has extensive diplomatic experience in various countries. Before and after his tenure in diplomatic service, he worked as an attorney and expert in information security. Currently residing in Germany, he is actively engaging in research, delving into subjects such as international human rights law.

Sara Kezia

Sara is a freelance researcher and a communications expert. Currently, she's pursuing her postgraduate degree at Tampere University. For her PhD, she investigates digital borders and everyday surveillance in the South West Asia and North Africa region. Previously, Sara has worked as a communications consultant, leading different research projects and the communications planning. She has engaged in diverse European and Middle Eastern research projects related to migration, human rights, technology, and media. As a Fellow at AlgorithmWatch, Sara will investigate what impact electronic IDs and the access to banking services have on human rights for foreigners and people with precarious legal status.

Maja-Lee Voigt

Maja-Lee is a urban researcher, PhD student at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, and co-founder of the interdisciplinary city research collective Akteurinnen für urbanen Ungehorsam in Hamburg, Germany. Assisted by a methodological toolbox of ethnographic and critical feminist thinking, she is currently researching Amazon’s monopoly on bits, bytes, and boxes. Overall, Maja-Lee’s work focuses on the automation of logistics in cities, tackling questions about (resisting) algorithmic architectures of oppression and hacking patriarchy towards more just urban futures.


Mathana is a Berlin-based ethicist, philosopher, activist, and storyteller. Their work examines the socio-cultural impact of AI and automated bias, ethics-based approaches to responsible AR/VR design and development, and the nascent proliferation of weaponized robotics in society. Mathana is the co-founder of the AI transparency project xplainr and has chaired the IEEE Standard Association's Global Initiative on the ethics of Extended Reality, where they brought together researchers and experts across industrial applications to facilitate the publication of cohesive best-practice recommendations for more socially responsible AR/VR/metaverse technologies. They also worked on creating harm-reduction frameworks within technical standards development around algorithmic bias and emotion recognition algorithms. During the fellowship, they will investigate applications of emotion recognition and detection algorithms in the European finance sector.

The last of the newly incorporated researchers to the fellowship would rather not be featured with a biography. We respect this wish.

The fellowship is sponsored by: