BetaNYC statement on Intro 1806-A, Automated Decision Systems used by City Agencies reporting law

“We are excited for the Council to add one more tool to the digital accountability toolbox. It is important for all New Yorkers to know what algorithmic systems are used to deliver government services. Government technology and algorithms should be as accountable as the people who buy or program them.”

Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director of BetaNYC

Intro 1806-2019 mandates that all agencies must provide an annual report on their “algorithmic tools.”

The report must include:

  • The name or commercial name, and a brief description of such algorithmic tool;
  • The purpose for which the agency is using such an algorithmic tool;
  • The type of data collected or analyzed by the algorithmic tool and the source of such data;
  • A description of how the information received from such algorithmic tool is used;
  • Whether a vendor or contractor was involved in the development or ongoing use of the algorithmic tool, a description of such involvement, and the name of such vendor or contractor when feasible; and
  • The month and year in which such algorithmic tool began to be used, if known.

“Algorithmic tool” means any technology or computerized process that is derived from machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, or other similar methods of data analysis, that is used to make or assist in making decisions about and implementing policies that materially impact the rights, liberties, benefits, safety or interests of the public, including their access to available city services and resources for which they may be eligible. Such term includes, but is not limited to tools that analyze datasets to generate risk scores, make predictions about behavior, or develop classifications or categories that determine what resources are allocated to particular groups or individuals, but does not include tools used for basic computerized processes, such as calculators, spellcheck tools, autocorrect functions, spreadsheets, electronic communications, or any tool that relates only to internal management affairs such as ordering office supplies or processing payments, and does not materially affect the rights, liberties, benefits, safety or interests of the public.

You can read our prior testimony: