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Five New Federal Agencies Join US Justice Department in Pledge to Enforce Civil Rights Laws in AI

07-Apr-2024 | Source : The US Justice Department | Visits : 578

WASHINGTON - The US Justice Department announced that five new cabinet-level federal agencies have joined a pledge to uphold America’s commitment to core principles of fairness, equality and justice as new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) become more common in daily life, according to the official website of the Department.

“Federal agencies are sending a clear message: we will use our collective authority and power to protect individual rights in the wake of increased reliance on artificial intelligence in various aspects of American life,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As social media platforms, banks, landlords, employers and other businesses choose to rely on artificial intelligence, algorithms and automated systems to conduct business, we stand ready to hold accountable those entities that fail to address the unfair and discriminatory outcomes that may result. We are mounting a whole-of-government approach to enforcing civil rights and related laws when it comes to automated systems, including AI.”

The joint statement, first announced in April 2023, now includes the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Labor. The Consumer Protection Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division also joined the pledge. Additionally, the updated statement highlights recent agency accomplishments, including policy guidance and enforcement actions involving automated systems.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke also announced that the Civil Rights Division has launched a public-facing webpage to centralize content related to the Division’s work on AI and civil rights. This resource will help the public more easily access information about how advanced technologies can result in unlawful discrimination and what the division can do to assist victims of discrimination.

These announcements follow the April 3 convening, which brought together directors of civil rights offices and senior officials across the federal government to foster AI and civil rights coordination. This was the second such convening hosted by the Civil Rights Division following President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, which directs federal agencies to use their authorities to prevent and address unlawful discrimination and other harms that result from the use of AI in programs and benefits, while preserving the potential social, medical and other advances AI may spur.

Meeting participants heard from the Justice Department’s Chief AI Officer, who discussed the department’s efforts under the Office of Management and Budget’s March 28 Memorandum, which includes the requirement that agencies assess and mitigate technology risks, including AI-enabled discrimination, in their operations. During the convening, agency representatives discussed strategies to enhance enforcement, coordination, external engagement and public awareness about AI's potential discriminatory uses and effects. Participants also gave updates on agency obligations under the Executive Order, including guidance, best practices and other resources, some of which may be released as early as the end of April.

Officials from the following agencies participated in the April 3 Civil Rights Division convening: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of the Interior, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Trade Commission and Social Security Administration.


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