AlgorithmWatch is a non-profit research and advocacy organization that is committed to watch, unpack and analyze automated decision-making (ADM) systems and their impact on society.

Governance of Artificial Intelligence in the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is in charge of upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe. Its member states are currently working on legal frameworks for the development and use of AI systems.

Stanford University Libraries via Public Domain Review

Joint Statement ahead of negotiations on legal framework on AI in the Council of Europe

Today, the Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAI) at the Council of Europe launches the negotiations on a new legal framework on Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. In a Joint Statement, AlgorithmWatch and other civil society organizations urge Member States to create an AI governance framework that is truly oriented at the Council of Europe’s mandate: the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

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Blog

1 March 2022

#ukraine

Solidarity with Ukraine

As an organization that defends human rights and democracy, we, the team of AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland, stand in solidarity with Ukraine, the Ukrainian population and all Russians who do not support this war.

Photo by Anna Mätzener

Human rights and activities of tech companies: Governments must act

Discrimination and violations of rights to equal treatment by the law – these are among the risks to human rights posed by the development and use of algorithmic systems by technology companies. In our submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) we argue that states have a duty to protect citizens from these risks.

Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Public Sector – Some Recommendations

When using automated decision-making systems (ADM systems) in the public sector, authorities act in a unique context and bear special responsibilities towards the people affected. Against this background, the use of ADM systems by public administrations should be subject to stringent transparency mechanisms – including public registers and mandatory impact assessments.

Blog

20 December 2021

#publicsector

ADM in the Public Sector: The Workshop

AlgorithmWatch Switzerland was invited to give a workshop as part of an event series on AI & Ethics organised and presented by Swiss Digital Initiative (SDI). Together with participants from various backgrounds, we explored how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be applied to the public sector, where and in what forms such applications are already used and what questions should be asked when considering the use of AI in the public sector.

Position Paper: A Legal Framework for Artificial Intelligence

AlgorithmWatch Switzerland co-authored a position paper on the regulation of AI systems in Switzerland. The paper was written in collaboration with an interdisciplinary consortium of academics and supported by the DSI Strategy Lab (University of Zurich).

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AlgorithmWatch forced to shut down Instagram monitoring project after threats from Facebook

Digital platforms play an ever-increasing role in structuring and influencing public debate. Civil society watchdogs, researchers and journalists need to be able to hold them to account. But Facebook is increasingly fighting those who try. It shut down New York University’s Ad Observatory in August, and went after AlgorithmWatch, too.

Draft AI Act: Submission by AlgorithmWatch

In April 2021, the European Commission published its draft version of the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). The regulation will be directly relevant for Switzerland. Read our submission to the Commission’s proposal.

Blog

1 September 2021

Let’s celebrate: One year AlgorithmWatch Switzerland!

Photo: David Bächtold, CC BY 4.0

Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Public Sector – An Impact Assessment Tool for Public Authorities

How can we ensure a trustworthy use of automated decision-making systems (ADMS) in the public administration? AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland developed a concrete and practicable impact assessment tool for ADMS in the public sector. This publication provides a framework ready to be implemented for the evaluation of specific ADMS by public authorities at different levels.

Open letter calling for a global ban on biometric recognition technologies that enable mass and discriminatory surveillance

AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland are joining 177 civil society organizations, activists, technologists, and other experts around the world to call for an outright ban on uses of facial recognition and remote biometric recognition technologies that enable mass surveillance and discriminatory targeted surveillance.

Reclaim Your Face – A Civil Society Initiative to ban biometric mass surveillance

A large coalition of civil society organizations, among them AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland, have come together in a European movement that demands a ban on biometric recognition systems that enable mass surveillance. Earlier this year, it launched a European Citizens Initiative, calling on the EU to ban biometric mass surveillance - such as automated face recognition in public spaces.

Projects

Our research projects take a specific look at automated decision-making in certain sectors, ranging from sustainablity, the COVID-19 pandemic, human resources to social media platfroms and public discourse. You can also get involved! Engage and contribute, for example with a data donation! Learn more about our projects

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2 November 2021

Algorithms in the Swiss Political Discourse

This project is conducted as part of a Capstone Course of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Zurich. The aim of this project is to evaluate the Swiss discourse on the use of algorithms: Which actors shape the public debate and from which perspectives are algorithms politically problematized?

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Publications

Read our comprehensive reports, analyses and working papers on the impact and ethical questions of algorithmic decision-making, written in collaboration with our network of researchers and civil society experts. See our publications

27 January 2021

Read now: Swiss Edition of the Automating Society Report 2020

How are AI-based systems being used by private companies and public authorities in Switzerland? The Automating Society Report 2020 by AlgorithmWatch and Bertelsmann Stiftung sheds light on what role automated decision-making (ADM) systems play in our lives. As a result of the most comprehensive research on the issue conducted in Europe so far, the report…

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Journalistic stories

How does automated decision-making effect our daily lives? Where are the systems applied and what happens when something goes wrong? Read our journalistic investigations on the current use of ADM systems and their consequences. Read our stories

Twitter's image cropping algorithm has been accused of racial bias. An experiment by students at Bern University of Applied Sciences shows that the issue might have been fixed., 12 March 2021

Twitter apparently fixed their picture cropping

This contribution was written by Matthias Hug, Martina Hunziker, Katharina Scheuner, master students in Multimedia Communication and Publishing at Bern University of Applied Sciences. It started with pictures of Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell and escalated quickly. In the fall 2020, a Twitter user posted portraits of these two men, paired on top of each…

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