New York, New York  [October 19, 2023] – Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards introduced first-of-its-kind legislation, Intro 1223, to ensure the fair and equitable distribution and delivery of services in New York City. This new legislation (a reintroduction from former Council Member Ben Kallos, with updates) would require the City to strengthen its commitment to fight bias and discrimination in agency decision-making processes. It also codifies some of the strategy outlined in the recently released plan from Mayor Adams and the Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI). 

Intro 1223 would establish an Office of Algorithmic Data Integrity, in partnership with OTI and the Office of Oversight and Investigations. This office would be responsible for promoting transparency in agency actions involving automated decision making, assisting offices by preventing unintended discriminatory decision-making, and ensuring fairness and equity in data-driven processes. The office would conduct audits of automated decision-making tools that City agencies may be using and assess potential bias in data analysis, ensure regulatory compliance, investigate public complaints, make recommendations for best practices in eliminating discrimination, and educate the public about the city’s use of algorithmic tools.

Intro 1223 is a significant step toward establishing a leading regulatory system for automated decision-making tools – many of which use artificial intelligence to make significant, life-changing decisions, from Homebase services placements, to the geographic distribution of emergency services, to investigating potential removals of children from their homes. The legislation underscores the city’s commitment to inclusivity and transparency in its decision-making processes, working towards eliminating bias and increasing equity. 

“This legislation marks a significant step forward in our commitment to a more inclusive and transparent city – and is in line with much of what was presented by Mayor Adams and OTI this week,” said Council Member Jennifer Gutierrez. “Automated decision-making is becoming increasingly integral to how our city functions, from social services to emergency response, and we must ensure that these tools are used fairly and without the potential for unintended bias. By establishing the Office of Algorithmic Data Integrity, we are taking a proactive approach to guarantee that the benefits of these tools are accessible to all, without discrimination.”

“Automated decision making is a powerful tool that needs to be subjected to vigorous oversight,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “That’s why I’m proud to join with Council Member Gutierrez in introducing this groundbreaking legislation. We must ensure the city uses automated decision tools in a transparent manner that is free from harmful bias.