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District of Columbia: Bill on algorithm discrimination introduced to Council

Bill 25-0114 for an Act to prohibit users of algorithmic decision-making from utilising algorithmic eligibility determinations in a discriminatory manner, to require corresponding notices to individuals whose personal information is used, and to provide appropriate means of civil enforcement was introduced, on 2 February 2023, to the Council of the District of Columbia, and was thereafter referred, on 7 February 2023, to the Committee on Business and Economic Development, and the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety with comments from the Committee on Public Works and Operations.

In particular, the bill provides that covered entities must not make an algorithmic eligibility determination or an algorithmic information availability determination on the basis of, among other things, an individual's, or class of individuals', actual or perceived race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, source of income, or disability. In addition, the bill outlines that covered entities must develop a notice on how they use personal information in algorithmic eligibility determinations, including:

  • what information is collected, generated, inferred, used, and retained;
  • what sources are used to collect, generate, or infer personal information;
  • whether the information is shared, sold, leased, or exchanged with any service providers, and if so, the names of those service providers and their subsidiaries;
  • how long the information is retained; and
  • the rights provided under the bill.

Further, the bill notes that the above notice must:

  • be clear, concise, and complete;
  • not contain unrelated, confusing, or contradictory materials; and
  • be in a format which is:
    • prominent and easily accessible;
    • capable of fitting on one printed page; and
    • provided in English, as well as any non-English language spoken by at least 500 individuals in the District of Columbia's population.

Likewise, the bill details that the above notice must be changed within 30 days after collection or after use practices are changed.

Notably, the bill highlights that covered entities must audit algorithmic eligibility determinations and practices, including creating audit trail records for five years for each determination, while also listing the type of information that must be retained. Finally, the bill clarifies that covered entities must submit a report containing the results of the audit to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

You can read the bill and track its progress here.