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Policing insecurity: debt, fraud, data and the automated welfare state

Brisbane and online

Many of the digital risk prediction systems integrated into Unemployment, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemented Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other social insurance programs in the United States over the last two decades promised to reduce waste and abuse by stopping fraud before it starts. In reality, these systems are increasingly used to tunnel through decades-old program data, looking for alleged overpayments that are then converted into debt for collection by the federal Treasury Offset Program (TOP).

This talk compares the RoboDebt case in Australia to current practice in the United States, drawing on collaborative work with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to shed light on the political implications of punitive debt production in six states.

The keynote speaker will be Associate Professor Virginia Eubanks.

This event is jointly hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) and the University of Queensland Digital Cultures and Society.