Dec 18, 2020 - Technology

How team Biden could tackle tech's civil rights failings

illustration of a facial recognition system
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration should evaluate new technologies like artificial intelligence and facial recognition through "a civil rights lens," argues a new paper shared exclusively with Axios. One of its authors is a volunteer on the Biden-Harris transition team.

The big picture: The paper from The Day One Project, a group of mostly former government staffers, advocates Biden establish a task force within the White House Office of Science Technology Policy to push federal agencies to share information about issues like facial recognition and targeted advertising.

Details: The paper's authors are Laura Moy, director of the Center on Privacy and Tech at Georgetown University and a volunteer on the Biden-Harris transition team, and Gabrielle Rejouis, senior policy manager on Color of Change's media, culture and economic justice team. (Moy participated in a personal capacity, not as a transition representative.)

What they're saying: "Tech policy issues — from online privacy to self-driving cars to encryption — must now be examined through a civil rights lens," they write. "Civil rights issues — from housing and employment discrimination to redlining to voter suppression — must now be examined through a technology lens."

  • But experts in technical regulation and equal opportunity law rarely know one another's fields, they note.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has never issued a legal complaint against algorithmic bias, they write.
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