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Sen. Markey’s Online Civil Rights Bill Would Reduce Online Racial Discrimination and Address Artificial Intelligence Bias

Bill is a strong roadmap for protecting civil rights online, and will reduce discriminatory uses of personal data.
WASHINGTON -

U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act (AJOPTA) on Thursday, a sweeping and robust online civil rights bill to prevent discrimination online and increase accountability for the use of artificial intelligence. The following is a statement from David Brody, who leads the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“America needs a strong roadmap for digital justice and this legislation is it. Sen. Markey’s bill would protect against online discrimination, establish guardrails for artificial intelligence, and promote equal opportunity on the internet. 

For far too long, online entities and big tech have gone unchecked, and as a result, their data practices have denied Black Americans and other communities of color equal opportunity to access housing, jobs, education, loans, and more. Sixty years ago, America began enacting laws to stop segregation and redlining in brick-and-mortar commerce. Today, we need an online civil rights act like AJOPTA to protect against data-driven discrimination and create true freedom on the Internet.

AJOPTA is also a necessary bill for sustaining a healthy democracy. It includes provisions that will protect against online voter suppression and disinformation, and gives the FTC, Department of Justice, state attorneys general, and disenfranchised individuals greater ability to remediate civil rights violations. We urge swift passage.”

Background:

AJOPTA is focused on protecting against discriminatory uses of personal information, establishing guardrails and transparency for the use of AI, and creating a federal interagency taskforce on AI. AJOPTA would: 

  • Create procedures for AI transparency and bias assessments; 
  • Establish transparency for online targeted advertising; 
  • Prohibit discriminatory uses of personal information in housing, employment, credit, education, insurance, health care, and public accommodations;
  • Prohibit uses of personal information to deprive or defraud someone of their right to vote; and
  • Create a federal interagency task force to address discriminatory uses of AI in different sectors.

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The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.

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