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Across the Field

Policymakers and advocates need stronger methods to challenge automated decisions.

We seek to lay a strong foundation to challenge automated decisions across our issues. We look for structural opportunities to improve how governments and companies measure racial disparities, and to support advocates by expanding both legal protections and access to the information necessary to produce independent analyses. This work also includes detailed investigations into specific platforms, such as Facebook’s role in driving discrimination using targeted online advertising.

Latest work in this issue area

All work in this issue area
Letter to DOJ re: AI Executive Order

We write with specific recommendations on implementing the recently-signed Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (EO 14110). The EO directs the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ CRT) to convene, within 90 days of the date of the Executive Order, a meeting of the heads of Federal civil rights offices to “discuss comprehensive use of their respective authorities” to “prevent and address discrimination in the use of automated systems, including algorithmic discrimination.”

It also directs the DOJ CRT to “increase coordination between the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Federal civil rights offices concerning issues related to AI and algorithmic discrimination,” and to “develop, as appropriate, additional training, technical assistance, guidance, or other resources.”

Upturn, Center for Democracy & Technology, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, & seven groups

Comments on OMB's AI Memorandum

We wrote comments in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s draft memorandum, Advancing Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management for Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Logan Koepke and Harlan Yu

Letter to the Biden-Harris Administration on their forthcoming AI Executive Order

As the Biden-Harris administration considers the contents of an Executive Order on artificial intelligence, the undersigned civil rights, technology, policy, and research organizations call on the administration to continue centering civil rights protections.

Algorithmic Justice League, Data & Society Research Institute, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Fight for the Future, and Upturn

Comments to the CFPB on data brokers

We provided comments to the CFPB urging them to protect consumers from the harms of data brokers.

Mitra Ebadolahi, Natasha Duarte, and Tairan Zhang

Letter to the FTC on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security Rulemaking

Alongside 40 other civil rights and technology advocacy organizations, Upturn called on the Federal Trade Commission to develop specific, concrete civil rights protections in the Commission’s ongoing Commercial Surveillance and Data Security Rulemaking.

Upturn, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Selected press and events

WIRED Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

WIRED covers Upturn’s research on how Facebook’s ad delivery system may perpetuate bias.

The Verge Facebook’s ad delivery could be inherently discriminatory, researchers say

Coverage from The Verge on Upturn’s research into how Facebook’s ad system can skew delivery outcomes.

Economist Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender

The Economist covers Upturn’s research on Facebook’s seemingly discriminatory ad system.

Reuters Facebook's ads system leans on stereotypes for housing, job ads: study

“Facebook’s algorithms, which match marketing messages with viewers, leans on stereotypes when it comes to housing and jobs, according to [Upturn’s empirical work].”