15:30 - 16:00
Participatory Paradise
Citizen Scoring in the EU - it happens at home, not only in China!


Several EU governments use automated decision-making systems to score citizens, either to spot welfare fraud, detect whether children are in danger of neglect, or determine how much care elderly or disabled persons should get. AlgorithmWatch's research shows that these systems are deployed much more widely than commonly known in many countries in Europe, and that they lack oversight and accountability.


In the Netherlands, SyRI (Systeem Risico Indicatie - System Risk Indication) is used for detecting potential benefit cheats. In Denmark, the state tries to monitor the well-being of children by combining health, tax, criminal registries of parents with participation and behavioural reports in kinder gardens and schools, the overall purpose being to trace potential social problems at an early stage. The Swedish municipality of Trelleborg in 2016 introduced automation in the welfare sector, including social benefit management and unemployment services. The algorithm Algot sorts and handles incoming applications for social benefits and connects with the database of the Swedish tax agency to check eligibility. After that a decision will automatically be issued.

These are but a few examples showing that citizen scoring and automated decisions based on it is making its way into the European society. What do we know about this development, how can we find out about the systems' characteristics and capabilities – and last not least: Do we need to be worried?

In this session, we will present results of extensive research conducted in 12 European countries for the report "Automating Society – Taking Stock of Automated Decision-Making in the EU" and discuss them with the audience.