New EPIC Report Reveals Extensive Use of Automated Scoring and Screening in the District of Columbia

November 1, 2022

A new EPIC report details the vast array of automated decision-making systems used throughout the District of Columbia to score and screen D.C. residents. These automated systems, which inform or replace human decisions every day, have been adopted by D.C. government agencies tasked with overseeing everything from education and housing to medical care and criminal justice. However, they are often flawed, harming those most in need. As the report explains, automated decision-making systems “make decisions that alter the paths of our lives,”’ but D.C. agencies rarely provide information on how these systems are used. “People deserve to know whether these systems are accurate, fair, and unbiased, both on their own merits and compared to possible alternatives.”

The report, Screened & Scored in the District of Columbia, is the result of a 14-month investigation into the automated systems used by D.C. government agencies and combines extensive legal research with qualitative research methods, interviews, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It includes four case studies, a first-of-its-kind table highlighting 29 automated tools used by D.C. agencies, and two vignettes—a technique common in qualitative research—to capture what it feels like to experience automated screening and scoring first-hand.

Screened & Scored in the District of Columbia is part of EPIC’s Scoring and Screening project, which works to protect the public from the algorithmic harms that automated systems may produce. For more information on this report and the research that supports it, visit EPIC’s dedicated webpage.

Support Our Work

EPIC's work is funded by the support of individuals like you, who allow us to continue to protect privacy, open government, and democratic values in the information age.