Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights report: The digital welfare state

Big Tech operates in an almost human rights free-zone, and this is problematic when the private sector is taking a leading role in designing, constructing, and even operating significant parts of the digital welfare state.

This is according to the October 2019 report (pdf) from the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. This report acknowledges the irresistible attractions for governments to move towards digital governance, but also addresses the risks.

The report

  • Algorithms and other forms of artificial intelligence I are highly likely to reproduce and exacerbate biases reflected in existing data and policies
  • In-built forms of discrimination can fatally undermine the right to social protection for key groups and individuals
  • The starting point should be on how existing or even expanded welfare budgets could be transformed through technology to ensure a higher standard of living for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

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