June 1, 2021 – Today, the California State Assembly passed The Automated Decision Systems Accountability Act (AB13), taking a major leadership role in regulating algorithmic decision making systems. AB 13 would encourage businesses and public entities in California that provide benefits or services using artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision systems to establish processes to test for biases during its development and usage. This is a major step forward in requiring that businesses and public entities take responsibility to ensure that racial inequities do not result from their algorithms.

Among the first legislation of its kind in the country, AB 13 will protect Californians from biased and inaccurate automated decision systems by requiring algorithmic accountability for “high-risk” public sector algorithms that impact Californian’s legal rights, employment opportunities, health and access to economic opportunity.The bill now advances to the Senate. 

Vinhcent Le, Technology Equity Legal Counsel of The Greenlining Institute and Board Member of the California Privacy Protection Agency said the following on the bill’s passing out of the Assembly: 

“Inaccurate and biased government AI costs taxpayers millions of dollars, harms disadvantaged communities, and erodes trust in government. AB 13 is an important step in modernizing government systems and ensuring that algorithmic biases don’t harm our state’s most vulnerable residents. We are incredibly proud that California is leading the way to fairer, more equitable technological practices.” 

Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), author of AB-13, further commented: 

“As we seek to rebuild our economy in an equitable way following the COVID-19 pandemic, bills such as AB-13 are more important than ever. This is especially true as government agencies seek to utilize algorithm-driven systems to improve operations and meet the needs of citizens in new ways. It is therefore important that we establish a clear accountability framework to ensure these algorithms do not discriminate against Californians. I’m encouraged that this bill passed out of the Assembly today, and I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”