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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.

Go deeper

Sen. Tina Smith: Access to banking is a civil rights issue

Photo: Axios screenshot

Equal access to banking and financial services should be protected under the Civil Rights Act, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said on Thursday in an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: People of color, particularly Black people, risk being racially profiled in visits to banks, yet the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not identify financial institutions as businesses that must not treat black customers differently. "That loophole makes it hard for victims of racial profiling to win in court," a New York Times investigation found.

Exclusive: Biden administration raises minimum wage for federal employees to $15

A poster demanding a federal $15-per-hour minimum wage seen near the White House in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26, 2021. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal agencies are being directed to raise the minimum wages for government employees to $15 an hour, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The guidance will impact almost 70,000 federal employees, most of which work at the Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Veterans Affairs. OMP is directing agencies to implement the new wage by Jan. 30.

30 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.