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Federal Government Charges Facebook with Housing Discrimination, Algorithmic Profiling at Issue

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has charged Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act by enabling discrimination through user profiling on the advertising platform. “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.” EPIC supports "algorithmic transparency,” which could reduce bias and help ensure fairness in automated decisionmaking. EPIC proposed the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence as the basis for federal legislation. The Universal Guidelines have been endorsed by more than 250 experts and 60 organizations in 40 countries. EPIC has pursued numerous FOIA cases concerning algorithmic transparency, passenger risk assessment, "future crime" prediction, and proprietary forensic analysis.

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