To: Members of State and Federal Parliament

Govt algorithms must be independently regulated

Govt algorithms must be independently regulated

Develop legislation which regulates algorithmic decision making employed by Gov't, also defining accountability and responsibilities of Elected and non-elected government officials which oversee their development, implementation, and ongoing management to ensure adequate care, and if there is negative human consequences, someone or someones to be legally responsible for those consequences.

Why is this important?

I don't think people fully appreciate the extent to which things like welfare, who qualifies for medical assistance, who qualifies for public housing, are determined by algorithms now. And sometimes that works fine and some other times it doesn't. The failings of robodebt are a good example, but it's the tip of the iceberg.

There are other kinds of bots and automation being used by governments around the world in the criminal justice system, for example, to predict whether a given defendant is likely to re-offend if you put them out on parole. These algorithms are not open and inspected by the public or have regulators, we don't really know how they work and there's not a lot of accountability for them. And so as a result, we end up with these mysterious machines making these decisions that affect millions of people's lives and we don't really understand what they're doing.