Algorithmic decision‐making (ADM) systems have come to support, pre‐empt or substitute for human decisions in manifold areas, with potentially significant impacts on individuals' lives. Achieving transparency and accountability has been formulated as a general goal regarding the use of these systems. However, concrete applications differ widely in the degree of risk and the accountability problems they entail for data subjects. The present paper addresses this variation and presents a framework that differentiates regulatory requirements for a range of ADM system uses. It draws on agency theory to conceptualize accountability challenges from the point of view of data subjects with the purpose to systematize instruments for safeguarding algorithmic accountability. The paper furthermore shows how such instruments can be matched to applications of ADM based on a risk matrix. The resulting comprehensive framework can guide the evaluation of ADM systems and the choice of suitable regulatory provisions.
accountability agency theory algorithmic decision‐making risk matrix transparency