Automated Experiments on Ad Privacy Settings: A Tale of Opacity, Choice, and Discrimination

To partly address people's concerns over web tracking, Google has created the Ad Settings webpage to provide information about and some choice over the profiles Google creates on users. We present AdFisher, an automated tool that explores how user behaviors, Google's ads, and Ad Settings interact. AdFisher can run browser-based experiments and analyze data using…

Accountable Algorithms

Many important decisions historically made by people are now made by computers. Algorithms count votes, approve loan and credit card applications, target citizens or neighborhoods for police scrutiny, select taxpayers for an IRS audit, and grant or deny immigration visas.The accountability mechanisms and legal standards that govern such decision processes have not kept pace with…

The Scored Society: Due Process for Automated Predictions

Big Data is increasingly mined to rank and rate individuals. Predictive algorithms assess whether we are good credit risks, desirable employees, reliable tenants, valuable customers — or deadbeats, shirkers, menaces, and “wastes of time.” Crucial opportunities are on the line, including the ability to obtain loans, work, housing, and insurance. Though automated scoring is pervasive…