UN decries police use of racial profiling derived from Big Data

Big Data

Authorities and border guards have to fight racial profiling and be sure that their usage of “big data” gathered via artificial intelligence does not reinforce biases against minorities, United Nations experts has said.

Businesses that sell algorithmic profiling systems to public entities and private companies, frequently used in screening job applicants, should be regulated to prevent misuse of personal data that perpetuates prejudices, they stated.

And that’s the danger of it,” Verene Shepherd, a member of this UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters.

“We’ve heard about companies using these algorithmic methods to discriminate on the basis of skin colour,” she added, speaking from Jamaica.

Shepherd, a historian, directed the 18 independent experts in drafting a “general recommendation” into the 182 countries which have ratified a binding international treaty prohibiting racial discrimination.

Minorities and activists have complained about the expanding use of artificial intelligence, facial recognition and other new technologies,” she said.

“It’s widely used in the United States of America, and we’ve had complaints from black communities in the European Union as well. And Latin America where people of African descent and indigenous people complain about profiling,” Shepherd said, citing Brazil and Colombia.

“These are the hotspots where we hear about cases of profiling being more prevalent.”

Protests against racism and police brutality erupted across the United States following the departure in May of George Floyd, an African-American who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

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Many authorities use “predictive” profiling systems that cause identity checks, traffic stops and searches, according to previous arrest data regarding a neighbourhood, Shepherd said.

The committee recommends that people who have been targeted deserve compensation, she said, adding, “If they live to tell the tale, by the way, because we know sometimes it ends up badly.”

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘UN decries police use of racial profiling derived from Big Data‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay. Editing by Nick Macfie.

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