This Week in Tech Racism

When racism and technology intersect; week of Oct. 30, 2016

This week in tech racism: inherent biases of ride-sharing drivers; the Congressional Black Caucus demands answers from Facebook; gay black men discuss harassment on Grindr, and more news stories at the absurd intersection of racism and technology:

Investigative news organization ProPublica claimed that COMPAS is biased against black defendantsOct. 17, 2016

COMPAS is computer software used by the legal system to determine if those awaiting trial are too dangerous to release on bail. ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, claims that COMPAS is biased against black defendants. The Washington Post questions ProPublica’s claims in its own analysis.

ACLU says facial recognition tech is racially biasedOct. 27, 2016

The American Civil Liberties Union’s study revealed facial recognition technology has higher error rates when used on younger people, females, and black peoples’ faces. These errors are likely to pose the biggest injustice to African Americans because of existing police biases, argues the ACLU.

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield and Rep. Robin Kelly condemn discriminatory housing practices of Facebook advertising – Nov. 2, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) condemn Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for its use of “Ethnic Affinities” advertising that allows users to exclude groups based on race and ethnicity in violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in a letter to the tech founder.

Black South African gays subject to “no fats, femmes, blacks” hostility on GrindrNov. 2, 2016

“South Africa is no exception to racial bias. Linda*, a black South African who used the app, says he’s been subjected to racial slurs and dubious questions ranging from his physique, cleanliness, and HIV status;” “Another man who declined to be named, says: “I don’t use Grindr as effectively as I should but I have met some cool guys from the app. I have experienced the ‘no fats, femmes, blacks’ thing personally,” reports Mail & Guardian.

Study finds shocking racist practices by Uber and Lyft driversNov. 3, 2016

study shows that African American males are three times as likely to have their ride-sharing pickup requests canceled; UberX drivers are three times as likely to cancel a ride on a male with a “black-sounding” name, and blacks have longer pick-up time waits that whites.



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