Data & Civil Rights: Consumer Finance Primer

Data & Civil Rights Conference, October 2014

8 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2014

See all articles by Alex Rosenblat

Alex Rosenblat

Data & Society Research Institute

Rob Randhava

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Danah Boyd

Data & Society Research Institute; Microsoft Research

Seeta Peña Gangadharan

New America Foundation - Open Technology Institute

Corrine Yu

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Date Written: October 30, 2014

Abstract

Title VIII (the Fair Housing Act) of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was the first federal legislation to prohibit institutions from considering some protected class information, like religion, in underwriting consumer mortgages. This prohibition extended to include additional protected class categories, and to apply to other types of consumer credit transactions into the 1970s. However, other characteristics that identify a particular demographic group, like address, in lieu of protected class information can still become unintentional proxies for protected status. New data analytics tools, predictive technologies, and an increasingly available range of data sources have enabled new financial instruments and services to be developed, but access to high- quality services remains restricted, often along racial and socio-economic class lines. How data is used and how algorithms and scores are designed have the potential to minimize or maximize discrimination and inequity. Yet, because of the complexity of many of these systems, developing mechanisms of oversight and accountability is extremely challenging. Not only is there little transparency for those being assessed, but the very nature of the new types of algorithms being designed makes it difficult for those with technical acumen to truly understand what is unfolding and why. This raises significant questions for those invested in making certain that finance and pricing are fair.

Keywords: predictive algorithms, finance, fair housing, oversight, accountability, credit-scoring, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Rosenblat, Alex and Randhava, Rob and Boyd, Danah and Gangadharan, Seeta Peña and Yu, Corrine, Data & Civil Rights: Consumer Finance Primer (October 30, 2014). Data & Civil Rights Conference, October 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2541870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2541870

Alex Rosenblat

Data & Society Research Institute ( email )

36 West 20th Street
New York,, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.datasociety.net

Rob Randhava

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.civilrights.org/

Danah Boyd (Contact Author)

Data & Society Research Institute ( email )

36 West 20th Street
11th Floor
New York,, NY 10011
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.datasociety.net

Microsoft Research ( email )

One Memorial Drive, 12th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://research.microsoft.com/

Seeta Peña Gangadharan

New America Foundation - Open Technology Institute ( email )

1899 L St., N.W., Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Corrine Yu

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights ( email )

1629 K Street NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.civilrights.org/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
66
Abstract Views
569
rank
342,213
PlumX Metrics