The Data Justice Lab has researched how public services are increasingly automated and government institutions at different levels are using data systems and AI. However, our latest report, Automating Public Services: Learning from Cancelled Systems, looks at another current development: The cancellation of automated decision-making systems (ADS) that did not fulfil their goals, led to serious harm, or met caused significant opposition through community mobilization, investigative reporting, or legal action. The report provides the first comprehensive overview of systems being cancelled across western democracies.
Researching the factors and rationales leading to cancellation of ADS offers a better understanding of their limits. The report identifies 61 ADS that were cancelled across Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and the U.S. We present a detailed account of systems cancelled in the areas of fraud detection, child welfare and policing. Our findings demonstrate the importance of careful consideration and concern for equity.