On May 1, 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) announced that it will release a Request for Information (“RFI”) to learn more about automated tools used by employers to “surveil, monitor, evaluate, and manage workers.” The White House will use the insights gained from the RFI to create policy and best practices surrounding the use of AI in the workplace.
Citing to several studies, OSTP’s press release states that employers are increasingly investing in technology to surveil workers and are making decisions based on the information generated from these tools, such as office computer software that records keyboard and mouse activity, scanners that track the pace of warehouse packers, and apps that monitor rideshare and delivery drivers’ speed. OSTP notes that while these automated tools can benefit both workers and employers, they may create workplace health and safety, discrimination, and other risks.
Specifically, OSTP seeks information on the use of automated tools to gather: (1) workers’ first-hand experiences with these technologies; (2) details from employers, technology developers, and vendors on how they develop, sell, and use these technologies; (3) best practices for mitigating risks to workers; (4) relevant data and research; and (5) ideas for how the federal government should respond to any relevant risks and opportunities.
This RFI is one of a number of requests for comment on automated decision-making tools and AI from the federal government and initiatives from the White House related to AI. For example, in October 2022, OSTP published The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People, which identifies key principles that the White House believes should guide the design, use, and deployment of AI. Additionally, on April 11, 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration within the Department of Commerce issued a request for comment on measures that promote accountability in AI systems with feedback due in June 2023. The Federal Trade Commission also requested comments on trade rules regarding privacy, security, and automated decision-making systems last fall and is expected to release a draft rule for further comment. The RFI also follows on the heels of guidelines released last week by New York City to implement legislation that limits use of automated employment decision tools (see our blog post here).
Any interested parties may submit responses to the White House RFI by June 15, 2023.
We will continue to monitor related developments on our blogs.