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CDT Welcomes White House Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights

(WASHINGTON) — The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) welcomes today’s White House release of a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and accompanying fact sheet announcing agency actions.

CDT President and CEO Alexandra Reeve Givens is attending the White House meeting where the Blueprint and agency actions are being announced. She said:

“The AI Bill of Rights marks an important step in recognizing the ways in which algorithmic systems can deepen inequality. It expresses expectations for safer and fairer data practices – something to which all entities developing and deploying AI systems should commit. In particular, we commend the White House for considering the diverse ways in which discrimination can occur, for challenging inappropriate and irrelevant data uses, and for lifting up examples of practical steps that companies and agencies can take to reduce harm.

We are particularly heartened that today’s announcement includes past and future steps by federal agencies to support effective and equitable AI. Many of these build on recommendations made by CDT and other civil society advocates, including communities directly impacted by algorithmic harms. The commitments mark an impressive sweep of engagement across key areas where AI can impact daily life, and lay a good foundation for future work.

Federal agencies can play an important role in improving standards for AI audits, and ensuring that any entity using AI – from employers to lenders, landlords, schools, benefits programs, and more – understands the risks and their responsibility to avoid them. The government can also lead by example, by reforming its procurement policies and engaging in oversight of agency use. We hope the Biden Administration continues to focus on this work, addressing the use of AI by both the private sector and government agencies.

Notably, the Blueprint recognizes the need for privacy protections as an essential tool to address data-driven harms. Today’s agency actions are valuable, but they would be even more effective if they were built on a foundation set up by a comprehensive federal privacy law.”

The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is the culmination of a year-long process to “make sure new and emerging data-driven technologies abide by the enduring values of American democracy.” CDT has engaged with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) throughout this process, including through OSTP’s listening sessions and request for comments. The Blueprint cites CDT’s research on automated test proctoring, bossware, and other surveillance technologies.

The document emphasizes five principles, stating that automated systems should:

  1. Be demonstrably safe and effective.
  2. Not cause “unjustified” algorithmic discrimination.
  3. Have built-in data privacy protections and provide people with control over how their data is treated, with special considerations for data related to sensitive domains.
  4. Provide timely, updated, and meaningful notice and explanation in accessible plain language form.
  5. Provide human alternatives to and review of automated systems.

The Blueprint is accompanied by a Fact Sheet detailing past and future agency actions from the Department of Labor, Federal Trade Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Education, Department of Health & Human Services, and more.

CDT is a 27-year-old 501(c)3 nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights to put democracy and human rights at the center of the digital revolution. It works to promote democratic values by shaping technology policy and architecture, with a focus on equity and justice.