Algorithmic accountability

Algorithmic decision-making in the U.S. needs accountability

Today, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Cory Booker, and Representative Yvette Clarke introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022 — a bill that holds the tech industry responsible for the life-altering judgements their automated decision systems make. Access Now is proud to endorse this legislation, which would help combat the devastating impacts companies’ algorithmic systems have on the welfare of people who rely on digital platforms — from approving loans, to issuing medical prescriptions.

“Opaque and often-biased algorithms are deciding who has access to housing, education, and other opportunities, and we should be concerned,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “The tech firms who deploy these automated decision systems usually answer to no one. By requiring companies to assess the impacts of the systems they use and sell, this bill will help combat algorithmic discrimination in defense of human rights.”

Building upon previous drafts, this new bill incorporates extensive stakeholder input, and increases clarity around the process of internal impact assessment. It creates greater accountability and transparency through summary reporting to the Federal Trade Commission, and establishes a repository for consumer contestation. Importantly, the Algorithmic Accountability Act would ensure that flawed algorithms do not infringe on people’s civil rights and economic opportunities.