Inside the Suspicion Machine - WIRED

Obscure government algorithms are making life-changing decisions about millions of people around the world. Here, for the first time, we reveal how one of these systems works.

Lighthouse Reports and WIRED obtained Rotterdam’s welfare fraud algorithm and the data used to train it, giving unprecedented insight into how such systems work. This level of access, negotiated under freedom-of-information laws, enabled us to examine the personal data fed into the algorithm, the inner workings of the data processing, and the scores it generates. By reconstructing the system and testing how it works, we found that it discriminates based on ethnicity and gender. It also revealed evidence of fundamental flaws that made the system both inaccurate and unfair.