WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today issued the following statement on the White House’s new Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights that incorporates much of his landmark legislation that would modernize civil rights laws by prohibiting discrimination through the use of automated decision-making tools, known as algorithms, that impact residents’ everyday lives.
“For decades, DC has been a leader in passing and enforcing civil rights laws. We are working to continue that leadership by modernizing our civil rights laws. Our bill, introduced last year, would stop discrimination in algorithms that impact people’s everyday lives, including the homes people can purchase, the loans they get approved, and the jobs they are hired for. We greatly appreciate that the White House is so receptive to our calls and is prioritizing stopping algorithmic discrimination at a federal level. It’s critical that government leaders and businesses at all levels take action, and more and more localities and states step up. Together, we can update our country’s civil rights laws by ensuring they prevent discrimination through tools that could not have been predicted nearly 50 years ago when those laws were enacted.”
AG Racine’s legislation would hold businesses accountable for preventing biases in their automated decision-making algorithms and require them to report and correct any bias that is detected. The bill would also increase transparency by requiring companies to inform consumers about what personal information they collect and how that information is used to make decisions. On September 22, AG Racine testified at a DC Council hearing about the need for his legislation.
AG Racine also participated in a White House listening session on September 8 on tech accountability during which he highlighted the need for federal action to stop algorithmic discrimination and build on his legislation to address this issue.
Discrimination and bias in algorithms can impact the homes that residents can purchase, the loans that they are approved for, and the jobs that they are hired for. These effects are particularly consequential for residents from vulnerable communities. Read AG Racine’s Medium post about the link between algorithms and civil rights.