More clarity required on contentious AMS algorithm

The Controversial Labor Market Assistance System (AMAS): Still Unclear if Profiling is Admissible

The Labor Market Assistance System (AMAS) was supposed to be introduced nationwide in 2021 with the goal of allocating funding measures more efficiently and providing support to those with medium labor market prospects. However, this plan was stopped by the data protection authority in August 2020 due to concerns about profiling. The Federal Administrative Court eventually overturned this decision, leading to a recent ruling by the Administrative Court.

The main question at issue is whether the digital tool intended to determine labor market prospects will significantly influence the decisions of AMS personnel. This question has been under scrutiny for almost three years now. According to the recent decision, the algorithm is considered to be in significant public interest, which is a prerequisite for justifying the use of personal data. However, it also confirmed the existence of profiling.

Whether or not this profiling is admissible depends on how much AMS employees’ decisions about job seekers are influenced by automatically calculated labor market opportunities. This controversial question was not addressed by the Federal Administrative Court, so a new procedure will be necessary to clarify it. As a result, it remains unclear when and in what form the program could be used. The AMS is currently examining the decision in detail to determine their next steps.

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