Algorithm Oversight Bill Advances

Published On: March 24, 2023

This week, legislation advanced that would require the Department of Technology to issue an annual report on the use of algorithms in automated decision-making systems (ADS). Assembly Bill 302 by Assemblymember Chris Ward  (D- San Diego) passed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

The measure calls for a “comprehensive inventory of all high-risk ADS that have been proposed for use, development, or procurement by, or are being used, developed, or procured by all state agencies,” says the analysis.  It was amended this week to expand the agencies included in compiling the report.

According to the author’s website, the bill “[e]nsures government transparency around state use of automated decision-making systems that may be using artificial intelligence or algorithms to facilitate decisions on public benefits by requiring the Department of Technology to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the technology and be transparent with their findings.”

The measure is sponsored by the Greenlining Institute, which also sponsored a similar bill, Assembly Bill 13, that failed passage in 2021.  TechCA officially opposed Assembly Bill 13.

Another pending measure, Assembly Bill 331 by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, Rebecca (D-San Ramon), would require any developer or deployer of an automated decision tool to perform an impact assessment that includes, among other things, a statement of the purpose of the automated decision tool and its intended benefits, uses, and deployment contexts. The bill would also require a deployer or developer to provide the impact assessment to the Civil Rights Department within 60 days of its completion and would punish a violation of that provision with an administrative fine of $10,000 to be recovered in an administrative enforcement action brought by the Civil Rights Department.

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