Prohibiting discriminatory algorithms: U.S. Congress has a plan

Today, U.S. Senator Markey and Representative Matsui introduced the Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act of 2021. Access Now is proud to endorse this legislation, which would help protect marginalized communities from discrimination online.

Among other provisions, this bill would:

  • prohibit algorithmic processes on online platforms that 1) discriminate on the basis of race, age, gender, ability or other protected status, and 2) interfere with voting rights;
  • increase transparency into websites’ systems of content promotion and moderation; and
  • create an interagency governmental task force to review the ways that algorithmic processes threaten people.

“We deserve to know when an algorithm is making a decision about us, what personal information is analyzed, and how this data is used against us,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “Online platforms have gotten away with profiting off of and exploiting our most personal data for far too long. This bill would help hold companies accountable for unlawful algorithmic processes, and is a serious step towards algorithmic justice and ensuring that the design and deployment of AI-assisted technologies respect civil and human rights.”