New data analytics tools, predictive technologies, and an increasingly available range of data sources have enabled new financial instruments and services to be developed, but access to high-quality services remains restricted, often along racial and socio-economic class lines. How data is used and how algorithms and scores are designed have the potential to minimize or maximize discrimination and inequity. Yet, because of the complexity of many of these systems, developing mechanisms of oversight and accountability is extremely challenging. Not only is there little transparency for those being assessed, but the very nature of the new types of algorithms being designed makes it difficult for those with technical acumen to truly understand what is unfolding and why. This raises significant questions for those invested in making certain that finance and pricing are fair.
This document is a workshop primer from Data & Civil Rights: Why “Big Data” is a Civil Rights Issue.