On 3th February 2022 US Senators R. Wyden and C. Booker together with Representative Y. Clarke presented the draft of Algorithmic Accountability Act 2022, which introduces a new quality of transparency and accountability for automated decision system. The document is an improved version of a proposal from 2019 and is the effect of talks with experts, advocacy groups and other stakeholders.
The Act is meant to minimise discrimination and harm sustained by consumers when they are subject to automated decision systems.
Another intention of the legislators was to strengthen informed consumer choice by the imposition of information obligation on companies which use automated decision process that has direct influence on consumers’ lives.
Apart from introducing such definitions as “augmented critical decision process”, “automated decision system” or “passive computing infrastructure”, several essential obligations of companies and the Federal Trade Comission (“FTC”) have been implemented. These encompass:
- with regard to companies:
- introduction of a baseline requirement assessment of the impact of automating critical decision-making, including decision processes that have already been automated;
- requirement of submitting selected documentation of impact assessment to the FTC;
- laying responsibility for impact assessment both on the companies that make critical decisions and on those that build the technology that enables these processes;
- the task of drafting the regulations with structured guidelines for assessment and reporting;
- publishing an annual anonymized aggregate report on existing trends and establishing an information repository available to consumers and advocates for review; the repository will provide a list of critical decision processes that have been automated by companies as well as data sources, high level metrics and instructions on how to challenge automated decisions;
- the establishment of a Bureau of Technology to enforce the Act and support the Commission in the technological aspects of its operations.
From the Foundation's point of view, introducing the requirement of impact assessment of automating critical decision-making, including already automated processes, is certainly a step in the right direction. Impact assessment is a tool that can better safeguard fundamental rights and reduce the possibility of discriminatory actions of ADM systems.