DC Attorney General Introduces Legislation to Stop Algorithmic Discrimination

December 9, 2021

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine today introduced landmark legislation to strengthen civil rights protections for DC residents and prohibit companies and institutions from using algorithms that produce biased or discriminatory results and lock individuals, especially members of vulnerable communities, out of critical opportunities, like jobs and housing. “At many of the most important moments of our lives—when we’re applying for jobs, housing, loans, college—we are screened and scored by opaque algorithms, often without even knowing it,” said EPIC Deputy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald. “And the algorithms often reflect judgments that reinforce bias and inequities in our society. There is little transparency on how these algorithms work, and there is rarely accountability for discriminatory outcomes. The Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act (SDAA) will establish crucial transparency measures to safeguard against discriminatory algorithms and require explanations to individuals after adverse decisions made by these tools. Crucially, the SDAA provides for strong enforcement via both the Attorney General’s powers and a private right of action, allowing individuals to bring a claim to protect their rights. EPIC is proud to support the SDAA.”

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