Robo-revenue raising too tempting for greedy governments

Illustration: Simon Letch

But, as with so many things, new technology can be used for good or ill. The most egregious case of government misuse of technology was surely Centrelink’s “automated income compliance program” aka robo-debt. Here, a dodgy algorithm was used to accuse people on benefits of understating their income over many years and to demand repayment. Despite assurances by the two ministers responsible – Christian Porter and Alan Tudge – that all was fair and above board, huge anxiety was caused to many unjustly accused poor people. The Coalition government obfuscated for years before a court finally ruled the program unlawful and the government agreed to return $1.8 billion. For a scheme intended to cut costs, it was an immoral own goal.

Source: Robo-revenue raising too tempting for greedy governments