Senator Markey Introduces EPIC-Supported Bill to Ensure Federal Agencies Monitor and Combat AI Harms

December 14, 2023

On December 12, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Eliminating Bias in Algorithmic Systems (BIAS) Act, which would create Civil Rights Offices in federal agencies empowered to monitor and combat AI harms like bias and discrimination. While a minority of federal agencies already have civil rights offices, most lack the mandate and staffing to tackle AI harms.

The Eliminating BIAS Act tackles algorithmic bias and discrimination in three main ways. First, it empowers federal agencies to monitor the “state of the field and technology of covered algorithms” relevant to each agency’s jurisdiction, not just the AI systems agencies use themselves. Second, it requires agencies to submit reports to Congress detailing their findings, what steps they are taking to mitigate AI harms, and what recommendations for legislation or administrative action they have. And third, it creates an interagency working group in which different federal agencies can coordinate efforts to combat AI harms.

“There is currently little oversight as to whether artificial intelligence systems are producing results that are accurate, fair, and unbiased, and federal agencies are in a unique position to evaluate and publish information about how AI is used in the sectors they regulate. Senator Markey’s Eliminating BIAS Act puts in place a commonsense requirement that agencies have an office of civil rights to evaluate AI systems and help minimize harms stemming from their use,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, EPIC’s Deputy Director. “EPIC is proud to support this legislation.”

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