Mon Jan 2nd, 2023 at 09:36:29 PM EST
Government policy led by artificial intelligence. AI and algoritme risks discrimination, see Dutch case tax collection false accusation social benefit fraud ... a reconstruction of years of neglect.
Netherlands: Court Prohibits Government's Use of AI Software to Detect Welfare Fraud
On February 5, 2020, the District Court of The Hague (Rechtbank Den Haag) held that the System Risk Indication (SyRI) algorithm system, a legal instrument that the Dutch government uses to detect fraud in areas such as benefits, allowances, and taxes, violates article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (right to respect for private and family life).
Facts of the Case
The case was brought by several civil rights organizations, including the Netherlands Committee of Jurists for Human Rights (Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten, NJCM), and two natural persons against the Dutch government. The Federation of Trade Unions in the Netherlands (Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging, FNV) intervened on behalf of the plaintiffs. The NJCM works to protect and strengthen fundamental human rights and freedoms. The FNV is a trade union that acts in the interests of its members and "is guided in part by the fundamental values of equality of all people, of freedom, justice and solidarity." (District Court, paras. 2.2, 2.4 & 2.5.) The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, submitted an Amicus Curae.
The SyRI system is an algorithm used by the government "to prevent and combat fraud in the fields of social security and income-related schemes, tax and social insurance contributions, and labor laws." It links and analyzes data from various government or public agencies and generates a risk report if a person is suspected of fraud. In 2003, these agencies, which include, among others, municipalities, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), the Social Insurance Bank (SVB), the national tax authorities, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), and the inspectorate SZW, concluded a Cooperation Agreement and formed a National Steering Committee on Intervention Teams (LSI). The Cooperation Agreement was updated in 2017. [Title and contents reads like a Gestapo directive "Signature Cooperation Agreement for Intervention Teams" joined in by local mayor and police authority] The LSI is chaired by a representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The SyRI is deployed by the minister of social affairs and employment (the minister) upon request of these agencies. (District Court paras. 3.1-3.7.)
In 2004, a provision was inserted into the Work and Social Assistance Act (Wet werk en bijstand, WWB) that allowed the linking of data of the agencies. One-hundred sixty projects were undertaken under the supervision of the LSI to prevent and detect fraud between 2008 and 2014. The SyRI or its predecessors were used for 22 of them. Nineteen of the 22 projects used a "neighborhood-oriented approach," meaning they targeted specific neighborhoods in which the linked data indicated an increased risk of welfare fraud.
Highest Dutch court accused of `discrimination' after childcare benefits scandal | Dutch News - Nov. 18, 2021 |
The following day a Committee of Judges issued a sincere apology.
The Dutch childcare benefit scandal, institutional racism and algorithms | EP Strasburg - June 28, 2022 |
On 25 May 2022, the Dutch government publicly admitted for the first time that institutional racism in part of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration was the root cause of the Dutch childcare benefit scandal. This scandal led to the resignation of the Dutch government in 2021.
In order to create risk profiles of individuals applying for childcare benefits, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration used algorithms in which `foreign sounding names' and `dual nationality' were used as indicators of potential fraud. As a result, thousands of (racialised) low- and middle-income families were subjected to scrutiny, falsely accused of fraud and asked to pay back benefits which they had obtained completely legally. Thus, the algorithms led to racial profiling.
The consequences were very difficult for many families: Thousands of families went into debt and many ended up in poverty because they were asked to pay back large sums of money (in the tens of thousands of euros), without being allowed the possibility of payment arrangements. Some lost their homes or their jobs. So far, more than 1 000 children have been taken out of their homes and placed in state custody as a result of the accusations. These numbers are estimated to be higher.
Unfortunately, the custody arrangements for the children do not meet the stringent criteria for child well-being and safety.
Amnesty International calls to ban discriminatory algorithms in its report Xenophobic Machines | Nov. 17, 2021 ||
From my diary ...
Pure Capitalism Winning In The Netherlands
QatarGate, LGBT Rights and Racism @Home
Holding other nations to account ...
Report uncovers widespread racism at Dutch foreign ministry | AP News - Dec. 12, 2022 |
The top civil servant at the Dutch foreign ministry apologized after an independent investigation found widespread racism at the government department in the Netherlands and at its diplomatic outposts around the world.
"Racism cannot and should not have a place in our organization," the ministry's secretary-general Paul Huijts said.
"We are sorry that we have apparently not been able to offer a work environment in which there is no place for this sort of occurrence," he said. "For that I offer, on behalf of the management board, our apologies."
Civil servants called in an independent research bureau to investigate racism at the ministry following Black Lives Matter protests across the world and in the Netherlands.
The bureau's report said that racism at the ministry ranges "from aggressive, direct, overt and conscious to subtle, indirect, hidden, unintentional or unconscious -- and that bicultural employees and locally hired employees of color experience various forms of racism."
EC website: Report Institutional racism in The Netherlands in Housing and the Labour markets
Rotterdam, Erasmus and Racist Expression
New Year started with racist slogans projected on the bridge named after Erasmus ... no shame.
Racist messages projected on Erasmus Bridge during Rotterdam New Year's fest | Jan. 1, 2023 |
In the 21st century the municipal administration changed from strong Labour and national labor unions to rightwing xenophobes and Islamophobia -- a new Dutch "culture";in the making. VVD party leader Mark Rutte too participates in inciting hate during election campaigns. No backbone, no leader of the nation.
Criminal investigation launched into 5 Rotterdam cops' racist statement | NL Times - May 2020 |
Ombudsman has harsh criticism for Dutch ministers
From Crisis to Crisis, Report one year ago …