Access to government algorithms in Poland
Human rights standards in the use and design of technology
The Ministry of Justice in Poland is using a computer system to randomly allocate cases to judges. Some judges claim that since the system was deployed, they have been given disproportionately more cases than others. The impartiality and independence of the judiciary in Poland has been under attack in recent years. ePanstwo are concerned that the system is biased and could further influence how cases are decided. Details about the system’s algorithm are being kept secret and a court in Poland ruled that it does not have to be disclosed under freedom of information law.
ePanstwo is appealing the decision, aiming to get access to the content of the algorithm. More broadly, they want to set an example showing that information about the use of algorithms by public bodies should be accessible to the public.
In December 2020, Article 19 submitted an amicus curiae to the Supreme Administrative Court to support ePaństwo’s case.
"Some judges claim that since the system was deployed, they have been given disproportionately more cases than others"
To set a precedent that algorithms used by public bodies are subject to freedom of information laws, providing greater transparency and accountability to ensure they comply with human rights standards.