New Zealand launches Algorithm Charter

The New Zealand government has launched the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand, containing a set of principles to guide the use of algorithms by government agencies. The charter, presented as an initiative for the government’s data system, is already adhered to by 24 agencies (founding signatories), including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Through the charter, government agencies commit to: (a) maintaining transparency by clearly explaining how decisions are informed by algorithms; (b) focusing on people by identifying and actively engaging with people, communities and groups who have an interest in algorithms, and consulting with those impacted by their use; (c) making sure data is fit for purpose by understanding its limitations and identifying and managing bias; (d) ensuring that privacy, ethics, and human rights are safeguarded; (e) retain human oversight. The government intends to review and update the charter regularly, to ensure that it responds to emerging technologies and is fit for purpose.