Predictim offers US parents risk analysis of babysitters


In November 2018, worried American parents wishing to check out prospective babysitters and dissatisfied with criminal background checks began paying $24.99 for a scan from the online service Predictim, which claimed to use "advanced artificial intelligence" to offer an automated risk rating. Predictim based its scores in part on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts - applicants were required to share broad access to their accounts - and offered no explanation of how it reached its risk assessments. The same kind of system is being sold to employers all over the world with claims that it can analyse speech, facial expressions, and online histories to develop psychological profiles and predict how well applicants will fit the job they're applying for. Critics complain that it's impossible to know whether these privacy-invasive systems are correct in their determinations, that they have the potential to amplify the biases of age or racial profiling, and that teens may be coerced into handing over intimate data just to try to get a job. After the service's claims became public, Twitter and Facebook blocked the company's access to their platforms.

Writer: Drew Harwell; Dave Lee

Publication: Washington Post; BBC

Publication date: 2018-11-23; 2019-11-27