#publicsector

Stanford University Libraries via Public Domain Review

Blog, 20 May 2022

Governance of Artificial Intelligence in the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is in charge of upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe. Its member states are currently working on legal frameworks for the development and use of AI systems.

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Andrew Seaman | Unsplash

Position, 10 May 2022

Members of the European Parliament could protect us from biometric surveillance – if they wanted to

Together with Reclaim Your Face and 51 other civil society organizations, AlgorithmWatch calls for a meaningful ban of remote biometric identification systems in public spaces. In an Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament, we urge them to amend the draft AI Act accordingly.

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Aliane Schwartzhaupt | Unsplash

Position, 4 May 2022

Civil society reacts to EP AI Act draft Report

Together with civil society partners we analyse in our new joint statement the two main EU parliamentary committees' draft report on the AI Act. In light of our core demands we identify the important steps it takes – and the gaps it still needs to fill so that it protects people and our fundamental rights.

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Shane | Unsplash

Position, 2 May 2022

A Milestone in the AI Act negotiations

On April 21st, the much-awaited IMCO-LIBE draft report on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), produced by the European Parliament lead negotiators Brando Benifei and Dragoș Tudorache, was finally disclosed – a major milestone in the AI Act negotiations. While we are preparing a detailed analysis in collaboration with our partners, we share below our first take on the draft report.

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Hans Reniers | Unsplash

Position, 11 April 2022

AlgorithmWatch’s demands for improving the AI Act

As policymakers are busy with shaping the AI Act, AlgorithmWatch has clear demands what should flow into the regulation so that it genuinely protects our fundamental rights.

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Tingey Injury Law | Unsplash

Position, 4 April 2022

Joint Statement ahead of negotiations on legal framework on AI in the Council of Europe

Today, the Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAI) at the Council of Europe launches the negotiations on a new legal framework on Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. In a Joint Statement, AlgorithmWatch and other civil society organizations urge Member States to create an AI governance framework that is truly oriented at the Council of Europe’s mandate: the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

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Position, 24 March 2022

Algorithmic Discrimination – How to adjust German anti-discrimination law

In their coalition treaty, the new German government has signaled their intention to evaluate the German anti-discrimination law (Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – AGG). We demand for them to account for the special features of algorithmic discrimination, for instance by considering the right to collective redress mechanisms to better protect the rights of those affected.

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Position, 1 March 2022

AlgorithmWatch signs statement on ban of predictive policing in the Artificial Intelligence Act

Today, 1st March 2022, AlgorithmWatch along with Fair Trials, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and 38 civil society organisations launched a collective statement to call on the EU to ban predictive policing systems in the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA).

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Mathias P.R. Reding | Unsplash

Position, 28 February 2022

Human rights and activities of tech companies: Governments must act

Discrimination and violations of rights to equal treatment by the law – these are among the risks to human rights posed by the development and use of algorithmic systems by technology companies. In our submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) we argue that states have a duty to protect citizens from these risks.

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shawnanggg | Unsplash

Position, 25 February 2022

Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Public Sector – Some Recommendations

When using automated decision-making systems (ADM systems) in the public sector, authorities act in a unique context and bear special responsibilities towards the people affected. Against this background, the use of ADM systems by public administrations should be subject to stringent transparency mechanisms – including public registers and mandatory impact assessments.

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Blog, 7 February 2022

Don’t smile for the camera – stop automated facial recognition!

Join the cause and spread the word about the dangers of biometric surveillance by ordering one of our “Don’t smile for the camera” tote bags for free.

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Jill Robidoux | flickrCC BY 2.0

Annual review 2021, 27 December 2021

The year that was not saved by automated systems – 2021 in review

A climate catastrophe in Germany and the revelations of the Facebook Files had one thing in common: the humans in the loop failed to take the right decisions. 2021 was not the year algorithms were reined in, but 2022 might be.

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Elwood j blues | Wiki Commons | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Position, 3 December 2021

Joint Statement on the Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) in the Council of Europe

Yesterday, the Council of Europe’s Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) held its last session. In a joint statement with the Conference of International NGOs of the Council of Europe, Global Partners Digital, and Homo Digitalis, we express our concerns over the outcome of the process, and we call upon the Council of Europe to ensure that the procedure leading to a legal framework on AI be inclusive and open to representatives of civil society.

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Christian Lue | Unsplash

Position, 1 December 2021

A paradigm shift in German digital policies? – The newly presented German coalition agreement shows good approaches, but there is need for clarification

The coalition agreement between SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP is out. It contains many good ideas. A strengthening of civil society actors working on digitization issues, digital transformation with a focus on people's interests and the protection of fundamental digital rights are covered in the text. The outlooks are encouraging. But when looking more closely, there is room for improvement - especially with regard to automated decision-making systems (ADM systems).

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Blog, 1 December 2021

UNESCO adopts Recommendation on the Ethics of AI

AlgorithmWatch welcomes that UNESCO’s 193 Member States have adopted the Recommendation on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – the first truly global framework on AI.

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Position, 30 November 2021

Civil society calls on the EU to put fundamental rights first in the AI Act

115 civil society organisations, including AlgorithmWatch and European Digital Rights (EDRi), launched a collective statement to call for an Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) which foregrounds fundamental rights.

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Romain Vignes Unsplash

Position, 23 November 2021

EU policy makers: Protect people’s rights, don’t narrow down the scope of the AI Act!

EU Member States are pushing for a definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the proposed AI Act that would dramatically limit its scope and exclude many systems that already have stark consequences for people’s fundamental rights and life prospects. We demand the European Council change its course, and call on the European Parliament to defend a position that puts people’s rights first instead of turning the AI Act into a paper tiger.

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CC-BY-NC European Council

Story, 23 November 2021

European Council and Commission in agreement to narrow the scope of the AI Act

The European Council, which represents Member States, is pushing for a “narrow” definition of AI, which would dramatically water down the AI Act. The European Commission seems to be in agreement.

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CC BY SA West Midlands Police

Story, 1 October 2021

An English police force created its own ethics committee and it’s totally not ethics washing, they say.

The West Midlands police force, which controls 2.9 million persons around Birmingham, created its own independent ethics committee in 2019. Despite its work and its transparency, critics are not convinced that it is a solid enough counterweight.

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Photo: Mitya Ivanov | Unsplash

Publication, 24 September 2021

Domestic COVID certificates: what does the evidence say?

Born to help reopen international travel routes, digital COVID certificates are now required in several countries to enter premises such as bars, restaurants, gyms, pools, and museums, and to attend large public events. But do they work — and what for, precisely? More fundamentally, is it even possible to have an evidence-based debate about them at all? Tracing The Tracers looked at the lessons we should learn from the available literature, with the help of a stellar group of researchers.

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CC-BY Bengt Nyman

Story, 10 August 2021

A Swedish town bought an AI to spot children at risk, but decided against deploying it

The Swedish municipality of Norrtälje bought an automated system to handle a spike in reports about children at risk. But it was shelved after concerns emerged regarding the software’s lawfulness and bias.

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Publication, 5 August 2021

Making sense of digital contact tracing apps for the next pandemics

In an interview with AlgorithmWatch, Prof. Susan Landau discusses why we need to resist fear in the face of pandemic uncertainty and the normalization of health surveillance technologies — and why the time to have a broad democratic discussion about their future uses is now.

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Michael Dziedzic | Unsplash

Position, 4 August 2021

Draft AI Act: EU needs to live up to its own ambitions in terms of governance and enforcement

Going forward with the proposed AI Act, the European Parliament and the Member States should re-think its risk-based approach, focus on affected communities, and beef up transparency requirements and enforcement mechanisms. We very much welcome the EU’s efforts to develop a framework for the governance of AI-based systems based on European values and the protection of fundamental rights, but there’s a long way to go to achieve these objectives.

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Piero Nigro | Unsplash

Analysis, 8 July 2021

Digital contact tracing apps: do they actually work? A review of early evidence

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many smartphone apps were launched to complement and augment manual contact tracing efforts without a priori knowledge of their actual effectiveness. A year later, do we know if they worked as intended? An analysis of early evidence—from both the literature and actual usage—by AlgorithmWatch finds that results, so far, are contradictory and that comparability issues might prevent an informed, overall judgment on the role of digital contact tracing apps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic altogether.

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Publication, 22 June 2021

Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Public Sector – An Impact Assessment Tool for Public Authorities

How can we ensure a trustworthy use of automated decision-making systems (ADMS) in the public administration? AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland developed a concrete and practicable impact assessment tool for ADMS in the public sector. This publication provides a framework ready to be implemented for the evaluation of specific ADMS by public authorities at different levels.

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Position, 7 June 2021

Open letter calling for a global ban on biometric recognition technologies that enable mass and discriminatory surveillance

AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland are joining 177 civil society organizations, activists, technologists, and other experts around the world to call for an outright ban on uses of facial recognition and remote biometric recognition technologies that enable mass surveillance and discriminatory targeted surveillance.

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Julia Bornkessel, CC BY 4.0

Interview with Jessica Wulf, 25 May 2021

“We’re looking for cases of discrimination through algorithms in Germany.”

The project AutoCheck investigates the risks for discrimination inherent in automated decision-making systems (ADMS). In this interview, project manager Jessica Wulf talks about the search for exemplary cases and how the project will support counselling centers and further education on the topic.

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Photo by Enric

Story, 25 May 2021

In Catalonia, the RisCanvi algorithm helps decide whether inmates are paroled

Eleven years ago, the Catalonian Department of Justice, in Spain, introduced RisCanvi, a system that estimates the risk that inmates reoffend upon leaving prison. All Catalonian prisons use it, but the tool is hardly transparent.

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Chris Barbalis | Unsplash

Publication, 18 May 2021

Towards accountability in the use of Artificial Intelligence for Public Administrations

Michele Loi und Matthias Spielkamp analyze the regulatory content of 16 guideline documents about the use of AI in the public sector, by mapping their requirements to those of our philosophical account of accountability, and conclude that while some guidelines refer processes that amount to auditing, it seems that the debate would benefit from more clarity about the nature of the entitlement of auditors and the goals of auditing, also in order to develop ethically meaningful standards with respect to which different forms of auditing can be evaluated and compared.

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Reclaim your face

Position, 4 May 2021

Reclaim Your Face – A European Citizens Initiative to ban biometric mass surveillance

A large coalition of civil society organizations, among them AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland, have come together in a European movement that demands a ban on biometric recognition systems that enable mass surveillance. Join us and sign the European Citizens Initiative, calling on the EU to ban biometric mass surveillance - such as automated face recognition in public spaces!

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Ralph / Flickr

Story, 27 April 2021

Greek camps for asylum seekers to introduce partly automated surveillance systems

An EU-funded surveillance system for “reception and identification centers” on five Greek islands raises questions about asylum seekers’ privacy and well-being. Despite assurances from European authorities, the Centaur system suggests that mass control, and not shelter, is the priority.

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Farnoosh AbdollahiUnsplash

Position, 22 April 2021

AlgorithmWatch’s response to the European Commission’s proposed regulation on Artificial Intelligence – A major step with major gaps

Disclaimer: Our analysis below is a first take and a provisional analysis of selected issues that we find particularly relevant to our work. A profound and comprehensive assessment of the 100+-page document certainly requires more time and in-depth analysis. Yesterday, the European Commission unveiled its eagerly awaited proposal for the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)…

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Story, 15 April 2021

How French welfare services are creating ‘robo-debt’

When automated fraud detection algorithms fail, welfare services can wrongly demand the repayment of benefits. Over the last five years, several scandals showed the breadth of the problem. In Australia, 400,000 people were put in ‘robo-debt’, 40,000 in Michigan and 26,000 in the Netherlands. Journalist Lucie Inland explains how the French welfare office automatically put her in debt, and how she fought back.

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Publication, 9 March 2021

Automating Society 2020 – Country issues Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland & Spain

Find all country issues of the Automating Society 2020 report and videos of the launch events on this page.

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Blog, 9 February 2021

New project launched: Tracing the tracers. Monitoring and analyzing ADM systems used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are very pleased to announce our new project Tracing the tracers. Monitoring and analyzing automated decision-making systems used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, we aim at providing a platform through which to continuously update the public on how ADM systems are being used in Europe — and, comparatively, the rest of the world — in response to the SARS-CoV-2 global outbreak.

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Blog, 3 February 2021

Presentation of the French and Spanish country issues of the Automating Society Report

We look forward to the publication of the French and Spanish country issues of the Automating Society Report 2020 by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung. Both issues will be launched within an online event in the respective national language.

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Publication, 28 January 2021

Read now: Swiss Edition of the Automating Society Report 2020

How are AI-based systems being used by private companies and public authorities in Switzerland? The Automating Society Report 2020 by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung sheds light on what role automated decision-making (ADM) systems play in our lives. As a result of the most comprehensive research on the issue conducted in Europe so far, the report covers the current use of and policy debates around ADM systems in 16 European countries and at EU level.

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Εφημερίδα ΠΡΙΝ | Flickr

Story, 28 January 2021

Flush with EU funds, Greek police to introduce live face recognition before the summer

Greek police are due to receive gear that allows for real-time face recognition during police patrols. Despite concerns that the system could seriously affect civil liberties, details about the project are scarce.

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Blog, 25 January 2021

Now available: The German edition of the Automating Society Report 2020

Read the German country edition of the Automating Society Report 2020

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Event, 19 January 2021

Register now: Launch event of the German edition of the Automating Society Report on 25 January 2021

How are AI-based systems being used by private companies and public authorities in Europe? The Automating Society Report by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung sheds light on what role automated decision-making (ADM) systems play in our lives. On January 25, we will present the German country edition of the report and discuss the results with experts at an online event. The main question will be how the public administration intends to deal with ADM procedures and whether concrete legal rules are needed.

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Story, 19 January 2021

Medical devices using AI/ML are poorly regulated: study

A review of 338 AI-powered medical devices approved in Europe and in the United States reveals holes in the European review process.

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Pedro Serapio |Pixabay

Story, 12 January 2021

China’s social credit system was due by 2020 but is far from ready

Six years after the government announced plans for a national social credit score, Chinese citizens face dozens of systems that are largely incompatible with each other. The central government is planning an overhaul.

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Robert Scoble | Flickr

Story, 6 January 2021

In Poland, a law made loan algorithms transparent. Implementation is nonexistent.

Since May 2019, and as a first in the EU, Polish consumers have the right to know in detail why a bank decided to grant or refuse them a loan, even for small amounts. But in practice, banks are still reluctant to provide such information. 

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Hartwig HKD | Flickr

Blog, 28 December 2020

The year algorithms escaped quarantine: 2020 in review

Amid the Covid pandemic, governments and corporations stepped up the deployments of automated systems. Civil society initiatives attempted to keep some of them in check.

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Wynand van Poortvliet | Unsplash

Story, 18 December 2020

New report highlights the risks of AI on fundamental rights

The European watchdog for fundamental rights published a report on Artificial Intelligence. AlgorithmWatch welcomes some of the recommendations, and encourages a bolder approach.

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Publication, 6 December 2020

Data trusts in Germany and under the GDPR

The report by Anouk, Ruhaak, Mozilla Fellow at AlgorithmWatch, considers alternative approaches to data governance, specifically data trusts.

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Story, 4 December 2020

Health algorithms discriminate against Black patients, also in Switzerland

Algorithms used to assess kidney function or predict heart failure use race as a central criterion. Continue reading the story on the AlgorithmWatch Switzerland website

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Publication, 30 November 2020

The compatibility of data trusts with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

By Dr. Michael Funke, JBB Lawyers In this legal analysis, data protection expert Michael Funke examines whether so-called data trusts can act as intermediaries for personal data, acquiring individual data donors’ rights to their personal data, in order to manage it on behalf of such donors – enabling data trusts to both pass personal data…

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Wynand van Poortvliet | Unsplash

Story, 25 November 2020

Dutch city uses algorithm to assess home value, but has no idea how it works

In a seemingly routine case at the Amsterdam court of appeal, a judge ruled that it was acceptable for a municipality to use a black-box algorithm, as long as the results were unsurprising.

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Jean-Noël Dollé |flickr

Story, 23 November 2020

French tax authority pushes for automated controls despite mixed results

Since 2014, a team of data-scientists supports local tax offices to help them identify complex fraud. But the motive could be more base: to make tax collectors redundant.

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Blog, 13 November 2020

Italian country issue of the Automating Society Report 2020 released

The Automating Society Report 2020 by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung is now available as a special Italian edition.

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Publication, 28 October 2020

Out now: Automating Society Report 2020

How are AI-based systems being used by private companies and public authorities in Europe? The new report by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung sheds light on what role automated decision-making (ADM) systems play in our lives. As a result of the most comprehensive research on the issue conducted in Europe so far, the report covers the current use of and policy debates around ADM systems in 16 European countries and at EU level.

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Ed Westcott|Wikimedia

Story, 27 October 2020

Spanish police plan to extend use of its lie-detector while efficacy is unclear

Veripol is a software that assesses the veracity of complaints filed with the Spanish national police. It was introduced in 2018, but it’s unclear if it works as intended.

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Event, 19 October 2020

Coming soon: Automating Society Report 2020 – Join our launch event on 28 October!

On 28 October AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung will publish the Automating Society Report 2020 – register now and join our online launch event!

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Catherine Poh Huay Tan |flickr

Story, 14 September 2020

Suzhou introduced a new social scoring system, but it was too Orwellian, even for China

A city of 10 million in eastern China upgraded its Covid-tracking app to introduce a new “civility” score. It had to backtrack after a public outcry.

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Blog, 1 September 2020

Europe wants to be a role model for technological responses to COVID-19. But it’s complicated.

Launch of our new report on 'Automated Decision-Making Systems in the COVID-19 Pandemic'

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Kamil Gliwiński |Unsplash

Story, 18 August 2020

Pre-crime at the tax office: How Poland automated the fight against VAT fraud.

In their fight against fraud, Polish tax authorities use STIR, an algorithm sifting through the data of millions of entrepreneurs. The government claims success, but dozens of companies have been hit, some say wrongly.

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Ivan Aleksic |Unsplash

Story, 12 August 2020

Algorithmic grading is not an answer to the challenges of the pandemic

Graeme Tiffany is a philosopher of education. He argues that replacing exams with algorithmic grading, as was done in Great Britain, exacerbates inequalities and fails to assess students' abilities.

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Darth Liu |Unsplash

Story, 6 August 2020

In a quest to optimize welfare management, Denmark built a surveillance behemoth

Udbetaling Danmark was created in 2012 to streamline the payment of welfare benefits. Its fraud control algorithms can access the personal data of millions of citizens, not all of whom receive welfare payments.

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Boehlich |Wikimedia

Story, 22 July 2020

Swiss police automated crime predictions but has little to show for it

A review of 3 automated systems in use by the Swiss police and judiciary reveals serious issues. Real-world effects are impossible to assess due to a lack of transparency.

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Jean-Phillipe Delberghe | Unsplash

Blog, 9 July 2020

AlgorithmWatch appointed to ‘Global Partnership on AI’

Today was the kick-off of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), a founded by the EU Commission and 14 countries. AlgorithmWatch was appointed to the GPAI as one of the very few civil society organizations.

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Ronnie Macdonald|flickr

Story, 7 July 2020

Slovenian police acquires automated tools first, legalizes them later

The Slovenian police legalized its use of face recognition 5 years after it started to use it. Despite formal safeguards, no institution can restrain the Interior ministry.

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Halacious |Unsplash

Story, 29 June 2020

Portugal: Automated verification of prescriptions helped crack down on medical fraud

Portugal’s national health service introduced a centralized, automated system to verify medical prescriptions in 2016. One year later, it flagged 20 million euros’ worth of fraud.

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Luis Villasmil |Unsplash

Story, 28 April 2020

Unchecked use of computer vision by police carries high risks of discrimination

At least 11 local police forces in Europe use computer vision to automatically analyze images from surveillance cameras. The risks of discrimination run high but authorities ignore them.

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Melanie Wasser|Unsplash

Story, 27 April 2020

In Spain, the VioGén algorithm attempts to forecast gender violence

As part of a program to curb feminicides, Spain built VioGén, an algorithm that assesses the risk faced by victims of gender violence. It remains a work in progress.

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Benjamin Davies |Unsplash

Story, 8 April 2020

Brexit: How EU nationals navigate the automated checks of the “Settled Status” program

The British Home Office deployed a mobile app for EU citizens to obtain permission to stay in the UK. Some are confident about the partly automated process, others live Kafkaesque experiences.

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Zicht op kruising Europaweg en Boerhaavelaan in Haarlem.
Jeroen van Lieshout |flickr

Story, 6 April 2020

How Dutch activists got an invasive fraud detection algorithm banned

The Dutch government has been using SyRI, a secret algorithm, to detect possible social welfare fraud. Civil rights activists have taken the matter to court and managed to get public organizations to think about less repressive alternatives.

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Sint-Ursula-Instituut
Sint-Katelijne-Waver |flickr

Story, 3 April 2020

In Flanders, an algorithm attempts to make school choice fairer

In Belgium, some schools don’t have enough capacity for all students that want to go there. In the Flemish part of the country, the government introduced an algorithm to assign places in schools, in the hope of giving every student the same chances.

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Position, 2 April 2020

Automated decision-making systems and the fight against COVID-19 – our position

by AlgorithmWatch – also available in German, French (Framablog)* and Italian (KRINO)*. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages throughout the world, many are wondering whether and how to use automated decision-making systems (ADMS) to curb the outbreak. Different solutions are being proposed and implemented in different countries, ranging from authoritarian social control (China) to privacy-oriented, decentralized…

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Fusion Medical Animation | Unsplash

Op-ed, 31 March 2020

“We must save privacy from privacy itself”

Michele Loi is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Zurich. He argues that proponents of privacy should not put privacy above health – else risk sliding into irrelevance. Not once I have seen a greater threat to privacy than the current pandemic of coronavirus. I am presently a pessimist about privacy: I think that privacy…

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Charlotta Wasteson |flickr

Story, 17 March 2020

Central authorities slow to react as Sweden’s cities embrace automation of welfare management

Trelleborg is Sweden’s front-runner in automating welfare distribution. An analysis of the system's source code brought little transparency – but revealed that the personal data of hundreds was wrongly made public.

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François Genon|Unsplash

Story, 19 February 2020

EU Commission publishes white paper on AI regulation 20 days before schedule, forgets regulation

In a set of documents published today, the European Commission unveiled its strategy for “Europe's digital future”. Despite some promising regulatory proposals, the Berlaymont’s program for automated systems fails to seriously appreciate the risks.

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Médiathèque Pierre Fanlac de Périgueux

Story, 11 February 2020

Between care and control: 200 years of health data in France

The French “Health Data Hub” will soon offer health data on all French citizens to AI startups that request it. It is the latest step in a project to centralize health information that began 200 years ago and kept oscillating between care and control, but mostly control.

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Praveesh Palakeel|Unsplash

Story, 6 February 2020

The algorithm police is coming. Will it have teeth?

Lawmakers in several European countries are passing or considering legislation to keep algorithms in check. How it will be enforced, and by whom, is still unclear.

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Tim Cole |Unsplash

Interview, 6 February 2020

“Lawmakers should provide rule-based descriptions of what it means not to be racist”

Cathy O’Neil is a mathematician and the author of several books on data science, including Weapons of Math Destruction, which looked at the impact of algorithms on society. In an e-mail interview, she explained how her business, ORCAA, audits algorithms.

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Charles | Unsplash

Blog, 30 December 2019

Automating societies: Nine predictions for 2020

A few days before 2020, AlgorithmWatch makes nine predictions for the new year. Twelve months from now, we will come back to them and assess our forecasting skills.

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ev | Unsplash

Story, 11 December 2019

At least 11 police forces use face recognition in the EU, AlgorithmWatch reveals

The majority of the police forces that answered questions by AlgorithmWatch said they use or plan to introduce face recognition. Use cases vary greatly across countries, but almost all have in common their lack of transparency.

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Husky | Wikipedia

Interview, 9 December 2019

Dutch MP Kees Verhoeven wants a registry of “heavy” algorithms – but it shouldn’t be public

On September 10, Dutch MP Kees Verhoeven put forward a motion in the Dutch parliament, together with MP Harry van der Molen, to create a mandatory register for all public-sector algorithms. He explains how this register could be implemented.

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Andrew Ebrahim |Unsplash

Story, 26 November 2019

New Swiss algorithm to desegregate schools, one block at a time

Two researchers from Zurich University created an algorithm that helps desegregate schools by slightly changing the boundaries of each school’s catchment area.

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Position, 24 October 2019

Germany’s data ethics commission releases 75 recommendations with EU-wide application in mind

A new document presented to the German government argues for more regulations in automated decision-making. AlgorithmWatch welcomes some proposals.

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Report, 21 October 2019

Identity-management and citizen scoring in Ghana, Rwanda, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and China

A review of identity-management practices in five African countries shows that much of the continent is well on its way towards comprehensive biometric registration. It could enable comprehensive citizen scoring or automated surveillance in the near future.

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Joint statement, 17 October 2019

UN: Protect Rights in Welfare Systems’ Tech Overhaul

Automating Benefits, Services Threatens Welfare Rights, Privacy

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Linh Do | Flickr

Story, 16 October 2019

UN special rapporteur on digital technology and social protection denounces a “human rights free-zone”

The report of the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights condemns in strong terms the way governments are privitizing and automating welfare management.

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Story, 6 October 2019

Austria’s employment agency rolls out discriminatory algorithm, sees no problem

AMS, Austria's employment agency, is about to roll out a sorting algorithm that gives lower scores to women and to the disabled. It is very likely illegal under current anti-discrimination law.

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Nikola Johnny Mirkovic  | Unsplash

Story, 12 August 2019

Spain: Legal fight over an algorithm’s code

Half a million Spaniards have been denied an electricity subsidy although they might be eligible. Non-profit Civio is going to court to obtain the source code of the software making the decisions.

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Zac Ong | Unsplash

Essay, 7 August 2019

Personal Scoring in the EU: Not quite Black Mirror yet, at least if you’re rich 

A centralized, permanent and public personal scoring system is very unlikely to appear in EU countries, but this does not mean that a large share of the European population is not or will not be subject to invasive scoring mechanisms.

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Suganth | Unsplash

Essay, 22 July 2019

Mind The Algorithm

The question of whether automation benefits or damages us citizens is primarily a political one. No one should let themselves be told that only those who have studied mathematics or computer science can take part in the discussion.

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Pablo García Saldaña | Unsplash

Story, 20 June 2019

“Ethical AI guidelines”: Binding commitment or simply window dressing?

In April this year, we began to compile an overview of guidelines for so-called “ethical AI”. Thanks to contributions of our readers, our inventory has grown to 83 entries and is finding global resonance. It is therefore time for an interim overview: there are some substantial contributions, but many entries are lacking substance. Additionally, there is a dearth of oversight mechanism to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to.

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Position, 11 June 2019

Submission to the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is preparing a thematic report on digital technology in national social protection systems and its human rights impact, especially on those living in poverty.

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Daan Stevens | Unsplash

Story, 11 June 2019

Bad data and health: Garbage in, carnage out

French investigative outlet Mediacités recently revealed how design failures in the user interface of software used in the country’s second-largest hospital endangered patients’ lives. Such software is used to gather the data that feeds machine learning algorithms, raising questions on the efficiency of artificial intelligence solutions in the health sector and what they mean for patients' health.

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Stefanie Loos/re:publica

Video, 10 May 2019

#rp19 talk: Citizen Scoring in the EU – it happens at home, not only in China!

On 7 May Kristina Penner and Matthias Spielkamp presented the key findings of our report Automating Society – Taking Stock of Automated Decision-Making in the EU at re:publica 2019 in Berlin. The video of the session is now available on YouTube.

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Alina Grubnyak | Unsplash

Blog, 26 April 2019

New project: Governing Platforms

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new project Governing Platforms, which is funded by Civitates, a collaborative philanthropic initiative that aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society to play its indispensable role in shaping vibrant open European democracies. Our project partners are the European Policy Centre (EPC) and the Mainzer Medieninstitut.

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Marie Bellando-Mitjans | Unsplash

Story, 16 April 2019

Poland: Government to scrap controversial unemployment scoring system

The Polish government has been forced to scrap a controversial scoring system for the unemployed after criticism by campaigners, judges and a human rights watchdog. The automated system is used to make life-changing decisions about what support individuals get based on their personal data and answers to interviews at job centres. Critics say the system is discriminatory, lacks transparency and infringes data protection rights. As a result the government has decided to end its experiment with profiling the unemployed, and the system will be scrapped by December 2019.

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Blog, 9 April 2019

Launch of our ‘AI Ethics Guidelines Global Inventory’

AlgorithmWatch's inventory of principles, voluntary commitments & frameworks for an ethical use of algorithms and AI (work in progress)

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Blog, 9 April 2019

No red lines: Industry defuses ethics guidelines for artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence should serve people and respect fundamental rights. This is what an expert group of the EU Commission demands in its now published guidelines for these technologies. However, unalterable ethical principles can no longer be found in it - representatives of industry on the committee have successfully deleted them.

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Blog, 3 April 2019

Atlas of Automation – Automated decision-making and participation in Germany

Automated decisions are part of our everyday lives and have a significant effect on the way we live – often without being aware of it. In order to use these systems it must be guaranteed that they are intelligible and effectively overseen. These are some of the recommendations made in the ‘Atlas of Automation’, presented…

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Publication, 2 April 2019

Atlas of Automation

AlgorithmWatch’s  ‘Atlas of Automation’ provides an overview of ADM systems used in Germany that are relevant to participation. It is a compilation – in this case not of maps and graphics, but of topics that are relevant for addressing the question of how these systems affect access to public goods and services as well as…

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Alireza Badiee  | Unsplash

Story, 28 February 2019

Sweden: Rogue algorithm stops welfare payments for up to 70,000 unemployed

Automated decision-making has become a national talking point in Sweden, after a report by the country’s public broadcaster revealed thousands of unemployed people were wrongly denied benefits by a government computer run amok.

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Alireza Badiee  | Unsplash

Story, 25 February 2019

Sweden: Rogue algorithm stops welfare payments for up to 70,000 unemployed

Automated decision-making has become a national talking point in Sweden, after a report by the country’s public broadcaster revealed thousands of unemployed people were wrongly denied benefits by a government computer run amok.

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Video & press review, 6 February 2019

Report ‘Automating Society’: video of the launch event & press review

Overview of the press coverage of the report 'Automating Society - Taking Stock of Automated Decision-Making in the EU' and the video of the launch event

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If you want to learn more about our policy & advocacy work on ADM in the public sector, get in touch with:
Anne Mollen
Senior Policy & Advocacy Manager
Nikolett Aszódi
Junior Policy & Advocacy Manager
Sarah Michot
Junior Advocacy & PR Manager