#WELFARE

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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Erika Fletcher |Unsplash

Story, 18 September 2020

In French daycare, algorithms attempt to fight cronyism

In many cities, it is unclear whose children can hope for a place in a public daycare facility. Algorithms could make the allocation of places more transparent, but not all politicians are happy.

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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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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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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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