2/6/2024 in News & Media, Press Releases

Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, to Call on Congress to Enact Comprehensive Responsible AI Legislation

January 31, 2024

Media Contact: Janelle Brevard | jbrevard@nationalfairhousing.org

Washington, D.C. Today, Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, will testify before the U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development to highlight both risks and opportunities presented by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into housing and financial services systems.

In her testimony, Rice will highlight the ways responsible AI can help to circumvent and overcome existing bias in AI and automated systems used in housing and financial services. Rice will call on Congress to play a leadership role in tech equity and the advancement of responsible AI principles to ensure technologies are fair and beneficial, do not harm people and communities, and promote ideals of freedom, including robust privacy protections and ensuring consumers have more agency over their personal data. 

The National Fair Housing Alliance believes Congress should pass new legislation that ensures fairer structures by: 

Ensuring Strong Civil and Human Rights Protections

These laws also must create equity to mitigate existing systemic barriers that unjustly harm underserved groups and communities. Civil rights, human rights, and consumer protection organizations lack the resources to ensure technologies are beneficial and not harmful, which means Congress must increase federal funding to support the important work of NGOs working to advance Responsible AI as well as create new programs to support the effective oversight and accountability of automated systems.

Ensuring Compliance with Existing Civil Rights and Consumer Protection Laws

Congress should ensure federal agencies issue robust policies that remind institutions of their legal obligations to test AI models for potential disparate treatment or disparate impact discrimination.

Integrating the Review of Fairness in the Algorithm’s Lifecycle and Requiring Auditing

The risk of bias must be considered and mitigated at every phase, from data selection to development to deployment to monitoring in a post-deployment environment. Legislation must encourage Responsible AI innovation while implementing risk mitigation measures.

Promoting Effective Training for the Federal Workforce

Congress should support comprehensive training on technology and AI fairness for federal regulators and enforcement agencies and ensure the federal workforce has the equipment and resources needed to enforce U.S. laws and regulations. Training should include a focus on fair housing and fair lending provisions and other civil rights and consumer protection standards.

Ensuring Equitable Digital Access, Public Data Access, Transparency and Explainability

AI legislation should mandate public availability of key data, as the lack of such data hampers efforts to develop responsible automated systems in housing and financial services. Congress should also encourage and support public research that analyzes the efficacy of specific uses of AI in housing and financial services and the impact of AI in financial services for underserved groups, including protected classes and those living in rural communities.

Ensuring Technologies Developed Outside of the U.S. Adhere to U.S. Rules and Regulations

Any legislation passed by Congress must ensure that foreign innovations adhere to U.S. civil rights and consumer protection standards to prevent violations through irresponsible AI.

Improve Consumers’ Ability to Have Agency Over Their Data

Congress should review the consumer privacy protections created by the European Union and California and build upon them to protect consumers’ privacy. Legislation must clarify that consumers own their personal data. Legislation must also ensure that data collected for one purpose cannot be used for other purposes without consumers’ consent. It must also ensure there are appropriate provisions to assess privacy risks, promote proper risk mitigation efforts, and advance rigorous anti-discrimination testing.

More details on the National Fair Housing Alliance’s Responsible AI policy agenda can be found HERE.

About the National Fair Housing Alliance
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.