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Press Release

Readout of Justice Department’s Interagency Convening on Advancing Equity in Artificial Intelligence

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Today, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division convened principals of federal agency civil rights offices and senior government officials to foster AI and civil rights coordination.

This was the third such convening hosted by the Civil Rights Division following President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (EO 14110), which tasks the Civil Rights Division with coordinating federal agencies to use our authorities to prevent and address unlawful discrimination and other harms that may result from the use of AI in programs and benefits, while preserving the potential social, medical and other advances AI may spur.

In her opening remarks, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division highlighted her recent announcement that nine cabinet-level federal agencies have joined the pledge to enforce civil rights laws in AI as new technologies become more common in daily life.

Agencies discussed their efforts to safeguard civil rights through robust enforcement, policy initiatives, rulemaking and ongoing education and outreach, including completing all 180-day actions in EO 14110 on schedule. These accomplishments include:

  • Guidance to assist federal contractors in compliance with equal employment laws to promote safe AI adoption and to apply the Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal labor standards as employers use AI (Department of Labor);
  • Resources for job seekers, workers, tech vendors and creators on how AI use could violate employment discrimination laws (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission);
  • Guidance affirming that existing prohibitions against discrimination apply to AI’s use for tenant screening and advertisement of housing opportunities, and explained how deployers of AI tools can comply with these obligations (Department of Housing and Urban Development);
  • Guidance and principles that set guardrails for the responsible and equitable use of AI in administering public benefits programs (Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services); and
  • A final rule applying the nondiscrimination principles under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to the use of patient care decision support tools in clinical care, and it requires those covered by the rule to take steps to identify and mitigate discrimination when they use AI and other forms of decision support tools for care (Department of Health and Human Services).

The interagency convening's attendees included Chair Charlotte Burrows of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Director Melanie Fontes Rainer of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia of the Department of Homeland Security and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Diane Shelley of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other senior agency officials also participated.

All participants pledged to continue collaboration to protect the American public against any harm that might result from the increased use and reliance on AI, algorithms and other advanced technologies. The agencies also agreed to partner on external stakeholder engagement around their collective efforts to advance equity and civil rights in AI.

For more information, see the Civil Rights Division’s webpage, which centralizes content related to the division’s work on AI and civil rights. This resource provides information about how advanced technologies can result in unlawful discrimination and what the division can do to assist victims of discrimination. The webpage will soon also include the work on AI and civil rights from enforcement agencies throughout the federal government.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke meets with government officials to foster AI and civil rights coordination.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke meets with government officials to foster AI and civil rights coordination.
Updated July 10, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-863