February 24, 2024 1:11 pm
More clarity required on contentious AMS algorithm

The recent decision made by the Administrative Court has led to an extended admissibility procedure regarding the disputed AMS algorithm. The Court sees a need for further clarification of the matter, specifically with regard to whether the digital tool intended to determine labor market prospects would significantly influence AMS personnel decisions. This question has been under scrutiny for almost three years.

The Labor Market Assistance System (AMAS) was supposed to be introduced nationwide at the beginning of 2021 but was stopped in August 2020 by the data protection authority due to concerns over data privacy. This decision was contested and eventually overturned by the Federal Administrative Court, leading to a recent judgment by the Administrative Court.

The intention of AMAS was to divide unemployed people into three categories with high, medium, and low labor market opportunities using a computer algorithm. The goal was to allocate funding measures more efficiently with a focus on providing support to those with medium labor market prospects. However, final decisions about unemployment support were still made by responsible advisors such as whether someone received expensive skilled worker training or not.

The recent decision confirmed that the algorithm is considered “significant public interest,” which is a prerequisite for justifying the use of personal data. However, it also confirmed that there exists “profiling.” Whether this profiling is admissible will depend on how much AMS employees’ decisions about job seekers’ assignments are determined by automatically calculated labor market opportunities. This controversial question was not addressed by the Federal Administrative Court, so a new procedure will be necessary to clarify it.

As a result, it remains unclear when and in what form the program could be used. The AMS is currently examining the decision in detail to determine its next steps. The ruling was initially reported by The Standard (online).

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