Transparency of Public Algorithms (FR0035)
Improving transparency of public algorithms and source codes
Minister of State for the Digital Sector, attached to the Prime Minister
OGP principles with which the commitment is associated:
Access to information, accountability
Algorithms have an ever greater part to play in implementation of public policies – in the fields of education and public finances, for example. Their transparency is of key importance in providing citizens with information on administrative decisions.
The Law for a Digital Republic, enacted on 7 October 2016, introduced two major provisions fostering greater transparency into the Code on Relations between the Public and the Administration. The first extends the principle of information to algorithmic processing: any person who is the subject of an individual administrative decision taken on the basis of an algorithm must be informed of the fact and may demand access to the algorithm’s main operational rules (its contribution, data used, etc.). The second includes source codes in the list of communicable administrative documents.
Furthermore, Article 16 of the same law provides for administrations encouraging use of free software and open formats during development, purchase and use of all or part of such information systems.
Accompanying the opening of public algorithms and source codes
Implementation of these new provisions requires accompaniment of administrations and, more generally, better understanding of the issues, potentialities and risks involved in the use of algorithms in management of public action.
It is for this reason that Etalab has undertaken to develop a methodology in collaboration with administrations for opening algorithms and codes contained in their information systems. Such assistance is already underway with the General Directorate of Public Finance (DGFiP) (opening of the tax calculator’s source code) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (mission on conditions for opening the Admission Post-Bac system). In addition, the Interministerial Directorate for Information and Communications Systems (DINSIC) has undertaken composition of a guide on how to open administrations’ source codes, starting with a consultation on an initial version of the guide carried out from December 2017 to January 2018 .
The specific issues connected with learning algorithms will also be taken into account in work on use of algorithms in public action.
The road map in detail
Producing 5 public algorithm monographs in order to identify technical, legal and organisational issues. Getting civil society to participate in their study. 2019
Making recommendations to administrations on essential information on public algorithms, in compliance with the principle of algorithmic transparency 1st half 2018
Drafting a guide to opening public source codes for use by administrations 1st half 2018
Organising hackathons based on opening public algorithms 2nd half 2018 – 2nd half 2019
An application case of the opening of models and source codes: OpenFisca
Since 2014, Etalab has been developing and making OpenFisca available to public administrations and civil society. OpenFisca is an open computation engine and API. It makes it possible to model the socio-fiscal system, to simulate the impact of reforms, and to develop citizen-oriented services.
OpenFisca made it possible to build my-aides.gouv.fr, a social assistance simulation platform, thanks to which more than 100,000 simulations are carried out each month.
Today, OpenFisca is used by many actors - parliamentarians, public officials, researchers - to assess the impact of future reforms. For example, in 2018, a team from the working group "Access to rights and services, fight against non-recourse" used OpenFisca to simulate different scenarios for simplifying the calculation of social benefits and their impact on typical family situations.
OpenFisca uses the income tax calculator made available in 2016 by the DGFIP to perform some of these simulations.
OpenFisca illustrates the opportunities created by the openness and sharing of algorithms and source code of the administration.
It enables citizens and public decision-makers to understand, evaluate and improve public decisions in social and fiscal matters.
It also makes it possible to pool calculation models that coexist within multiple administrations, and a fortiori, to improve their quality and reduce their costs.
To further these actions in the area of social and fiscal transparency, the DINSIC commits to:
Encourage the opening of existing models, data and source codes in the socio-fiscal field, in order to accompany administrations in the evaluation of reforms. This work will
be carried out in consultation with the producing administrations (Budget Directorate, Treasury Directorate, Public Finance Directorate, social security bodies, etc.) and may include those involved in the drafting and monitoring of reforms (parliamentary assemblies, Court of Auditors, etc.);
Improve citizens' understanding of social and fiscal rules in order to stimulate the creation of services based on OpenFisca, as is the case of the mes-aides.gouv.fr platform. These services could be developed both by administrations and by civil society;
Develop collaborations with partner countries to support them in their initiatives to open up data and algorithms around socio-fiscal transparency and citizen participation in reforms.
In addition to these crosscutting actions, the following ministries have made commitments of their own:
THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL EDUCATION UNDERTAKES TO
Open various of its algorithms and source codes.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY FOR INFORMATION SYSTEM SECURITY (ANSSI) UNDERTAKES TO
Take part in the composition of a guide to opening public source codes for use by administrations and focusing particularly on questions connected with best development and security practices.
Open the source code for the CLIP secure exploitation system (CLIP OS).
Transparency of Public Services
FR0030, 2018, E-Government
Transparency of Public Procurement
FR0031, 2018, E-Government
Transparency of Development Aid
FR0032, 2018, Aid
Expand open data
FR0033, 2018, E-Government
Improved data policies and administration
FR0034, 2018, Capacity Building
Transparency of Public Algorithms
FR0035, 2018, E-Government
Open data at sub-national level
FR0036, 2018, Capacity Building
State AI lab
FR0037, 2018, Capacity Building
FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building
Public Service Incubators
FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building
Streamline data flows
FR0040, 2018, E-Government
Open Etat forum
FR0041, 2018, E-Government
Online procedures dashboard
FR0042, 2018, E-Government
FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building
Imrove public consultation mechanisms
FR0044, 2018, E-Government
International transparency and citizen participation
FR0045, 2018, Aid
Public pariticipation in sustainable development
FR0046, 2018, Capacity Building
FR0047, 2018, E-Government
Citizen involvement in Cour des Comptes
FR0048, 2018, Capacity Building
Private sector transparency
FR0049, 2018, Asset Disclosure
Access to information on public officials
FR0050, 2018, Asset Disclosure
Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data
FR0001, 2015, Fiscal Transparency
Publish municipal council decisions and reports online
FR0002, 2015, E-Government
Publish building permits in open data format
FR0003, 2015, Open Data
Increase Transparency in Public Procurement
FR0004, 2015, Open Contracting and Procurement
Improve Transparency in International Development Aid
FR0005, 2015, Aid
Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations
FR0006, 2015, E-Government
Involve Citizens in Cour des Comptes Work
FR0007, 2015, Fiscal Transparency
Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations
FR0008, 2015, E-Government
FR0009, 2015, Beneficial Ownership
Transparency in Extractive Industries
FR0010, 2015, Extractive Industries
Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations
FR0011, 2015, Labor
Fix My Neighborhood
FR0012, 2015, E-Government
FR0013, 2015, Open Data
Co-produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society
FR0014, 2015, Open Data
Open Legal Resources
FR0015, 2015, Legislation & Regulation
Reform Participatory Mechanisms
FR0016, 2015, Public Participation
Mediation and Justice
FR0017, 2015, Judiciary
Open and Circulate Data
FR0018, 2015, Land & Spatial Planning
Open Calculation Models and Simulators
FR0019, 2015, Open Data
Open Platform for Government Resources
FR0020, 2015, E-Government
Improve Public Services through E-Government and User Interaction
FR0021, 2015, E-Government
Empower Civil Society to Support Schools
FR0022, 2015, E-Government
Diversify Recruitment within Public Institutions
FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building
FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building
Spread Public Innovation
FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building
Protect Against Conflicts of Interest
FR0026, 2015, Conflicts of Interest
Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning
FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate
Open data and Climate/Sustainable Development
FR0028, 2015, Open Data
Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development
FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate