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Statement: Councilmember Robert White Shares Path Forward for Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act

I know that many people, from civil rights advocates to business leaders, are closely following the Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act. This legislation is very important. I want to thank Attorney General Karl Racine and his team for their groundbreaking work to pioneer new civil rights protections for the automated era in which we live. There is no question that algorithms perpetuate discrimination by race, gender, history of incarceration, and other characteristics. I take seriously the fact that people are experiencing ongoing harm from algorithms that prevent them from accessing educational opportunities, moving into their dream home, or receiving appropriate medical care during an urgent hospital visit. And it is specifically because of this human impact that I am determined to take a thoughtful approach. We have to get this right. Unfortunately, there is not enough time before the end of the Council period to move this bill forward in a way that effectively bars harmful discrimination without substantially disrupting the central and often positive role that algorithms play in broad swaths of our economy. Although the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which I chair, will not mark up the Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act before the end of this Council session, my work on this bill will not stop. I am committed to advancing the bill in the first quarter of 2023. I plan to work closely with Attorney General Karl Racine, businesses operating in the District, and civil rights advocates to ensure that this first-in-the-nation civil rights bill is strong and intentional.

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