Big Apple seeks big data analytics chief, to take charge of algorithms
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, has issued an executive order to hire a new ‘algorithms management and policy officer’ to bring transparency and order to the city’s use of data and analytics tools.
The move comes after the city convened a task force around the use of automated decision systems (ADS) in city government in May last year. Its conclusion, 18 months later, is New York City should establish “an organizational structure” to manage ADS, around a single leadership role, to ensure the “fair and responsible use of algorithmic tools and other emerging technologies in city agency decision-making”.
De Blasio (pictured) noted that New York City, like any city, is required to analyze a significant array of data to develop and implement strategies, policies, and operations to deliver city services and serve citizens and businesses.
He stated: “In this digital age, vast amounts of data of all types are increasingly created, collected, integrated, used, and shared in new ways made possible through the use of algorithms and other emerging technologies. Traditional governance frameworks must evolve and adapt to ensure that principles of fairness, transparency, human-centered design, and privacy protection remain central to government practices.”
The new role will establish rules for the use of data and analytics tools in the city’s decision-making, and implement a framework, including policies and protocols, to help city agencies assess analytics tools and systems, and advise on “potential risk of harm to any individual or group arising from their use”. The city will also undertake a public education programme around its use of data, and establish a public platform to advise on continuing usage.
The new algorithm officer will be part of the mayor’s operations team, also covering the offices of data analytics, information privacy, and economic opportunity.
An ‘algorithms management steering committee’ will be set up alongside, chaired by the city’s director of operations, with representatives from the city’s corporation counsel, commission on human rights, chief privacy officer, office of data analytics, chief technology officer, IT and telecoms department, and cyber command.
An ‘algorithms advisory committee’ will be convened at least twice per year, chaired by the new recruit. The role will be filled imminently.