Serbia Social Card excludes thousands of welfare beneficiaries

Occurred: November 2022

A Serbia government system meant to automate the allocation of welfare payments and detect fraud resulted in thousands of beneficiaries not receiving their payments. 

Approved by the country's parliament in March 2022 and developed by local IT company Saga, Serbia's socijalna karta (Social Card) system uses approximately 130 types of data collected from the Tax Administration, Ministry of Interior, and other government agencies to process individual payments in a fully automated manner. 

In November 2022, a group of human rights organisations, including Amnesty, submitted a legal opinion that accused the Serbian government of creating an 'invasive digital surveillance system that threatens the right to equality' by excluding the Roma and the disabled from the system, thereby increasing disparities against them.

Serbia's government has refused to provide access to the system's algorithm or data. 

System 🤖

Operator: Serbia Ministry of Labour
Developer: Saga

Country: Serbia

Sector: Govt - welfare

Purpose: Allocate social benefits

Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/disrimination - ethnicity, disability; Fairness; Privacy; Surveillance

Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2023
Last updated: November 2023