NEWS26 March 2019

Algorithmic bias in crime and justice investigated

Data analytics News Public Sector UK

UK – The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) has joined with the Cabinet Office’s Race Disparity Unit to look at the potential for bias in crime and justice decision-making.

The potential for bias in algorithms used in crime and justice, financial services, recruitment and local government will be investigated by the CDEI.

It wants to ensure professionals using algorithms understand the potential for bias and have measures in place to address this. The CDEI also aims to help guarantee fairer decisions and where possible improve processes.

In crime and justice, algorithms can be used to assess the likelihood of re-offending and inform decisions about policing, probation and parole.

Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Technology is a force for good which has improved people’s lives, but we must make sure it is developed in a safe and secure way. I look forward to seeing the Centre’s recommendations to government on any action we need to take to help make sure we maximise the benefits of these powerful technologies for society.”

Roger Taylor, chair of the CDEI, added: “These are complex issues and we will need to take advantage of the expertise that exists across the UK and beyond. If we get this right, the UK can be the global leader in responsible innovation. We want to work with organisations so they can maximise the benefits of data driven technology and use it to ensure the decisions they make are fair.”