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AlgorithmWatch is a non-profit research and advocacy organisation to evaluate and shed light on algorithmic decision making processes.
Latest Articles


Spam filters are efficient and uncontroversial. Until you look at them.

An experiment reveals that Microsoft Outlook marks messages as spam on the basis of a single word, such as “Nigeria”. Spam filters are largely unaudited and could discriminate unfairly.

Female historians and male nurses do not exist, Google Translate tells its European users

An experiment shows that Google Translate systematically changes the gender of translations when they do not fit with stereotypes. It is all because of English, Google says…


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

By Qian Sun 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. Suzhou is a city with a population of…


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.


Our response to the European Commission’s planned Digital Services Act

The consultation period for the European Commission's "Digital Services Act" ended on 8 September 2020. Read the submission by AlgorithmWatch that we submitted to the Commission.


In Italy, an appetite for face recognition in football stadiums

Right before the pandemic, the government and top sports authorities were planning a massive deployment of face recognition and sound surveillance technologies in all Italian football stadiums. The re…


AlgorithmWatch joins call for ‘Universal Advertising Transparency by Default’

We have joined the European Partnership for Democracy and many other partners in calling for the introduction of comprehensive advertisement libraries.


For researchers, accessing data is one thing. Assessing its quality another.

By Nicolas Kayser-Bril • kayser-bril@algorithmwatch.org • GPG Key Online platforms often provide data that is riddled with errors. Rather than launching quixotic attempts at fixing them, researchers i…


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

By Graeme Tiffany 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 stud…


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

By Konrad Szczygieł This story is part of AlgorithmWatch’s upcoming report Automating Society 2020, to be published later this year. Subscribe to our newsletter to be alerted when the report is…


Under the Twitter streetlight: How data scarcity distorts research

By Nicolas Kayser-Bril • kayser-bril@algorithmwatch.org • GPG Key As part of our #LeftOnRead campaign, several researchers testified to the reluctance of online platforms to provide useful data. Many…


GPT-3 is a lot of fun, but no game-changer

We usually do not write about newly-released software, especially when there is no way to audit it. But the hype over GPT-3, a natural language generator, was such that several readers asked for a rev…


Spain’s largest bus terminal deployed live face recognition four years ago, but few noticed

By Naiara Bellio López-Molina Madrid South Station’s face recognition system automatically matches every visitor’s face against a database of suspects, and shares information with the Spanish police.


Undress or fail: Instagram’s algorithm strong-arms users into showing skin

An exclusive investigation reveals that Instagram prioritizes photos of scantily-clad men and women, shaping the behavior of content creators and the worldview of 140 millions Europeans in what remain…


Broken Horizon: In Greece, research in automation fails to find applications

By Nikolas Leontopoulos This story is part of AlgorithmWatch’s upcoming report Automating Society 2020, to be published later this year. Subscribe to our newsletter to be alerted when the repor…

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