Brit watchdogs ask how they can better regulate algorithms
UK watchdogs under the banner of the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) have called for views on the benefits and risks of how sites and apps use algorithms.
Whether that's which video to watch next on YouTube, which film you might enjoy on Netflix, who turns up in your Twitter feed, search autosuggestions, and what you might like to buy on Amazon – the algorithm governs them all and much more.
While that all sounds pretty benign, regulators are hip to the fact that algorithms don't always work for the benefit of consumers.
The DRCF – comprised of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) – has set out a workplan for the coming year in which it aims to:
"Just one of those areas is algorithms. Whether you're scrolling on social media, flicking through films or deciding on dinner, algorithms are busy but hidden in the background of our digital lives.
"That's good news for a lot of us a lot of the time, but there's also a problematic side to algorithms. They can be manipulated to cause harm or misused because firms plugging them into websites and apps simply don't understand them well enough. As regulators, we need to make sure the benefits win out."
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