Fact check: Does CA Prop 25 replace bail with an algorithm?

Claim: “Prop. 25 ends our right to put up bail for anyone, even though they may have been racially profiled. Prop. 25 replaces bail with computer algorithms. Academic studies show that these algorithms are biased. Some call them black boxes. And Prop. 25’s new bureaucracy delays justice for innocent people stuck in jail. The NAACP asks you to vote no on Proposition 25,” California NAACP head Alice Huffman said in a campaign ad for No on Proposition 25.

Rating: Misleading.

Details: Huffman is correct that Proposition 25 ends bail in the state of California, but is misleading when she says that it replaces bail with a computer algorithm.

While the pre-trial risk assessment model that weighs whether a person is at risk to re-offend or fail to appear before the court does use computer algorithms, “judicial officers remain the final authority in making pretrial release or detention decisions,” according to the Judicial Branch of California.

That means that while judges may rely on algorithm-assisted risk assessment models and recommendations, they have the power to override those recommendations.

Under Proposition 25, most people apprehended for misdemeanor crimes will be cited and released within 12 hours. For more serious crimes, a pretrial assessment will be conducted within 24 hours of booking, according to the Judicial Branch. Eligible low- and medium-risk individuals then will be released from custody, while others will be held until arraignment.

At arraignment, the accused must be released from custody unless the prosecutor files a motion for preventive detention. At that point, a judge decides whether to detain the person until a hearing can be held.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged

Amsterdam and Helsinki launch algorithm registries to bring transparency to public deployments of AI

Amsterdam and Helsinki today launched AI registries to detail how each city government uses algorithms to deliver services, some of the first major cities in the world to do so. An AI Register for each city was introduced in beta today as part of the Next Generation Internet Policy Summit, organized in part by the European Commission and the city of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam registry currently features a handful of algorithms, but it will be extended to include all algorithms following the collection of feedback at the virtual conference to lay out a European vision of the future of the internet, according to a city official.

Each algorithm cited in the registry lists datasets used to train a model, a description of how an algorithm is used, how humans utilize the prediction, and how algorithms were assessed for potential bias or risks. The registry also provides citizens a way to give feedback on algorithms their local government uses and the name, city department, and contact information for the person responsible for the responsible deployment of a particular algorithm. A complete algorithmic registry can empower citizens and give them a way to evaluate, examine, or question governments’ applications of AI.

In a previous development in the U.S., New York City created an automated decision systems task force in 2017 to document and assess city use of algorithms. At the time it was the first city in the U.S. to do so. However, following the release of a report least year, commissioners on the task force complained about a lack of transparency and inability to access information about algorithms used by city government agencies.

A 2019 McKinsey Global AI Readiness Index report ranks Holland and Finland among some of the most prepared nations in the EU most prepared to adopt applications