“Many government agencies are already harnessing the power of data to deliver improved public services for New Zealanders – coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems,” says Shaw, in a statement.
“For example, Work and Income’s Youth Service, NEET, uses an algorithm to identify at-risk school leavers and offer them support.”
“But as these techniques grow in scale and sophistication, it’s critical that New Zealanders can be confident their data is being handled appropriately, and that proper safeguards are being applied.”
The review found a need for agencies to be more transparent about how algorithms are informing decisions that affect people in significant ways, he states.
“The proposed charter has been drafted in response to this finding, and will encourage ethical and open practices, as well as fostering greater consistency and collaboration across government agencies.”
“Our Government is committed to transparency, accountability, and fulfilling our responsibilities under the Open Government Partnership. I encourage everyone to look at the charter, and think carefully about what it means to them, their community and their whanau.”
The proposed charter builds on other work to improve government accountability and transparency around algorithms and data use.
Over coming months, the Government Chief Data Steward will also begin work to identify opportunities to embed data ethics through training and professional development at all levels of the government analytics workforce.