Mirko Schäfer member of new advisory committee for governmental institutions

On March 17, 2023, the Analytics Advisory Committee (Adviescommissie Analytics) has officially started. This committee, consisting of academics and experts, will provide solicited and unsolicited advice to the Ministry of Finance, the Tax Administration, Customs and Service Surcharges on how to deal with risk models and algorithms.

Risk models and algorithms can increase efficiency and effectiveness in work processes and are therefore increasingly used by the Dutch government. However, they should never result in well-intentioned citizens and companies being antagonized, as happened in recent scandals involving the use of algorithms by government services. The best-known example of this is the toeslagenaffaire, caused by the tax authorities’ control mechanisms in the Netherlands. To prevent this from happening in the future, the Analytics Advisory Committee was set up.

‘The Netherlands too naive in the use of data’

Mirko Schäfer

The committee consists of a group of academics and experts who all work on issues such as privacy, data, algorithms, and the digital society. Mirko Schäfer, associate professor at Utrecht University, is one of the committee members. He is co-founder of the Data School and leads the science research within this platform. His own field of expertise is research on the impact of big data and artificial intelligence on citizenship and democracy. Schäfer: “In the Netherlands, we are sometimes still too naive when it comes to using data. Together we must develop the necessary checks and balances to safeguard the values of our open society and democracy in a digital society. With my expertise I want to contribute to the effective application and implementation of responsible data practices and AI.”

The committee is chaired by Emile Aarts, emeritus rector magnificus and professor of Computer Science at Tilburg University. The other committee members are Sandjai Bhulai, Eppo Bruins, Paul van Geest, Jeroen van den Hoven, Friederike van der Jagt, Rob van Kan, Esther Keymolen, Patricia Prüfer and Arlette van Wissen.