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Justice and Law Enforcement: Automated Decisionmaking and Computer-Related Crimes; A Discussion of Two GAO Reports

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Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, Justice and Law Enforcement: Automated Decisionmaking and Computer-Related Crimes; A Discussion of Two GAO Reports (Sept. 13, 1977) (not available online).

Overview Edit

Two recent GAO reports related to inadequacies in the automated system design and development process. In the report, "Improvements Needed in Managing Automated Decisionmaking by Computers Throughout the Federal Government," automated decisionmaking applications were identified, causes for bad decisions were analyzed, and corrective actions suggested.

In a sampling of 128 systems, over 1.7 billion actions a year were identified involving a monetary impact of over $40 billion. In the 128 systems, 27 percent had none of the action-causing output manually reviewed for correctness; 33 percent of the systems had less than 10 percent of output reviewed, and 10 percent of the systems had less than 20 percent of output reviewed. Decisions made were often wrong and cost the Government hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures. Causes for bad decisions were found to be either software problems, data problems, or a combination of the two.

The report, "Justice and Law Enforcement: Computer-Related Crimes in Federal Programs," dealt with categories of computer crimes and the means for controlling them. Most of the cases that were found involved fraudulent input initiation, and it was noted that good controls over input were lacking.

Both reports pointed up the need for more control over system design and implementation.

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