Tracing The Tracers: monitoring the algorithm against the pandemic

Tracing The Tracers is a Berlin project for monitoring the algorithm applied for control measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. About thirty professionals including researchers, university professors, journalists and leaders from sixteen European countries have come together to create an information system on the use of ADM systems ( automated decision-making systems ). Tracing The Tracers is an online platform wanted by Algorithm Watch where users are constantly updated and informed, thus creating a "democratic system" in which everyone participates.

Tracing The Traces is an online platform for monitoring the algorithm regarding anticovid measurements
Tracing The Traces is born, an online platform for monitoring the algorithm regarding anticovid measurements

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives by bringing about changes and news. Among these we must remember the use of automated decision-making processes. Since November 2020, political decisions are governed by constant and precise monitoring of data, and ADM processes have replaced traditional decision-making forms . Today it is the mathematical procedures and the analysis of the numbers that decree the passage from a red or yellow zone of an Italian region. Hence the need to devise a system that monitors the decisions of automated processes .

Tracing The Tracers: constant monitoring and information

Tracing The Tracers was created to inform users about how ADM systems are used in Europe on decisions in the context of the pandemic. The platform is a public interface that aims to monitor and map cases. The ultimate goal of the project is to help contain and curb the spread of the coronavirus so that we can return to our lives in total freedom, controlling decision-making processes. Tracing The Tracers monitors several systems including contact tracking apps and symptom control apps. Vaccine passports, QR codes, AI-based applications and wearable devices are also analyzed. At the base of this technology there is a specific algorithm created ad hoc.

Accuracy, rigor and transparency: the values ​​of Tracing The Tracers

The thirty minds of Tracing The Tracers specify the importance of the conceived project, focusing attention on the characteristics of the platform: accuracy, rigor and transparency. The first two are guaranteed by the publication of the contents on the interface together with the Algorithmic Accountability Reporting and Research Network. In line with the principle of transparency, the analyzes and information will be disseminated through academic documents, reports, interviews and mass media . In the database of the online platform it is also possible to inquire about the number of infections in the rest of the world. The end of the project is scheduled for December 2021, on the occasion of which a report will be published with the results obtained from the monitoring.

Tracing The Tracers allows for constant monitoring
Tracing The Tracers allows constant monitoring of ADMs.

The innovative and engaging aspect of the Tracers The Tracers platform is the presence of the “contribute” option. This feature allows each user to contribute by reporting the presence of an ADM system not yet considered. The commitment and workload are considerable for the system : for this the contribution of each user is essential. The creators of this interface also specify the importance of collaboration with other organizations active in the fight against COVID-19 through sharing and dialogue. Only thanks to these characteristics is it possible to establish an inclusive and democratic public system.

ADM: increasingly present in our life

With the term “ automated decision-making process ” we indicate all those solutions and decisions taken by an algorithm in an automatic way. These processes have now become part of our lives, breaking through many sectors, from the analysis of curriculum vitae to driving without a driver. Since 2020, healthcare has also used this technology to combat the COVID-19 pandemic . Automated decisions are expected to increasingly outweigh those made by the human mind and well-reasoned in the future.

The article Tracing The Tracers: Pandemic Algorithm Monitoring comes from Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .