Centering the Rule of Law in the Digital State
(2020) IEEE Computer 53(10)
20 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2020 Last revised: 10 Dec 2020
Date Written: November 1, 2019
Driven by the promise of increased efficiencies and cost-savings, the public sector has shown much interest in Automated Decision-Making (ADM) technologies. But the rule of law, human rights, and principles of good government – fundamental in the public sector – are given insufficient priority. This article argues that public sector ADM must recentre these considerations. While attention has been paid to the technology itself, greater focus should be on public-sector oversight, responsibility, and the broader contexts and implications of ADM’s deployment and use. We highlight some of the transparency issues that prevent effective investigation of public-sector ADM and indicate the relevant legal frameworks and their limitations. We explore ways forward, from both a regulatory and sociotechnical systems perspectives, highlighting the need for mechanisms that facilitate reviewability, to enable better governance and oversight of the adoption and use of ADM for public administration. Effectively managing the potential risks by prioritising public sector values would give confidence to the sector to leverage new technologies while maintaining public trust.
Keywords: automated decision-making, public sector automation, rule of law
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