Dutch Scientific Council knows: AI is neither neutral nor always rational

AI should be seen as a new system technology, according to The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy, meaning that its impact is large, affects the whole of society, and is hard to predict. In their new Mission AI report, the Council lists five challenges for successfully embedding system technologies in society, leading to ten recommendations for governments.

Continue reading “Dutch Scientific Council knows: AI is neither neutral nor always rational”

Amnesty’s grim warning against another ‘Toeslagenaffaire’

In its report of the 25 of October, Amnesty slams the Dutch government’s use of discriminatory algorithms in the child benefits schandal (toeslagenaffaire) and warns that the likelihood of such a scandal occurring again is very high. The report is aptly titled ‘Xenophobic machines – Discrimination through unregulated use of algorithms in the Dutch childcare benefits scandal’ and it conducts a human rights analysis of a specific sub-element of the scandal: the use of algorithms and risk models. The report is based on the report of the Dutch data protection authority and several other government reports.

Continue reading “Amnesty’s grim warning against another ‘Toeslagenaffaire’”

Xenophobic machines: Discrimination through unregulated use of algorithms in the Dutch childcare benefits scandal

Social security enforcement agencies worldwide are increasingly automating their processes in the hope of detecting fraud. The Netherlands is at the forefront of this development. The Dutch tax authorities adopted an algorithmic decision-making system to create risk profiles of individuals applying for childcare benefits in order to detect inaccurate and potentially fraudulent applications at an early stage. Nationality was one of the risk factors used by the tax authorities to assess the risk of inaccuracy and/or fraud in the applications submitted. This report illustrates how the use of individuals’ nationality resulted in discrimination as well as racial profiling.

From Amnesty International on October 25, 2021

Government: Stop using discriminatory algorithms

In her Volkskrant opinion piece Nani Jansen Reventlow makes a forceful argument for the government to stop using algorithms that lead to discrimination and exclusion. Reventlow, director of the Digital Freedom Fund, employs a myriad of examples to show how disregarding the social nature of technological systems can lead to reproducing existing social injustices such as racism or discrimination. The automatic fraud detection system SyRI that was ruled in violation of fundamental rights (and its dangerous successor Super SyRI) is discussed, as well as the racist proctoring software we wrote about earlier.

Continue reading “Government: Stop using discriminatory algorithms”

Covid-19 data: making racialised inequality in the Netherlands invisible

The CBS, the Dutch national statistics authority, issued a report in March showing that someone’s social economic status is a clear risk factor for dying of Covid-19. In an insightful piece, researchers Linnet Taylor and Tineke Broer criticise this report and show that the way in which the CBS collects and aggragates data on Covid-19 cases and deaths obfuscates the full extent of racialised or ethnic inequality in the impact of the pandemic.

Continue reading “Covid-19 data: making racialised inequality in the Netherlands invisible”

Racist Technology in Action: Proctoring software disadvantaging students of colour in the Netherlands

In an opinion piece in Parool, The Racism and Technology Center wrote about how Dutch universities use proctoring software that uses facial recognition technology that systematically disadvantages students of colour (see the English translation of the opinion piece). Earlier the center has written on the racial bias of these systems, leading to black students being excluded from exams or being labeled as frauds because the software did not properly recognise their faces as a face. Despite the clear proof that Procorio disadvantages students of colour, the University of Amsterdam has still used Proctorio extensively in this June’s exam weeks.

Continue reading “Racist Technology in Action: Proctoring software disadvantaging students of colour in the Netherlands”

Now you see it, now you don’t: how the Dutch Covid-19 data gap makes ethnic and racialised inequality invisible

All over the world, in the countries hardest hit by Covid-19, there is clear evidence that marginalised groups are suffering the worst impacts of the disease. This plays out differently in different countries: for instance in the US, there are substantial differences in mortality rates by race and ethnicity. Israelis have a substantially lower death rate from Covid-19 than Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza. In Brazil, being of mixed ancestry is the second most important risk factor, after age, for dying of Covid-19. These racial and ethnic (and related) differences appear also to be present in the Netherlands, but have been effectively rendered politically invisible by the national public health authority’s refusal to report on it.

By Linnet Taylor and Tineke Broer for Global Data Justice on June 17, 2021

Rotterdam’s use of algorithms could lead to ethnic profiling

The Rekenkamer Rotterdam (a Court of Audit) looked at how the city of Rotterdam is using predictive algorithms and whether that use could lead to ethical problems. In their report, they describe how the city lacks a proper overview of the algorithms that it is using, how there is no coordination and thus no one takes responsibility when things go wrong, and how sensitive data (like nationality) were not used by one particular fraud detection algorithm, but that so-called proxy variables for ethnicity – like low literacy, which might correlate with ethnicity – were still part of the calculations. According to the Rekenkamer this could lead to unfair treatment, or as we would call it: ethnic profiling.

Continue reading “Rotterdam’s use of algorithms could lead to ethnic profiling”

Gebruik algoritmes Rotterdam kan leiden tot vooringenomen uitkomsten

De gemeente Rotterdam maakt ter ondersteuning van haar besluitvorming gebruik van algoritmes. Hoewel er binnen de gemeente aandacht bestaat voor het ethisch gebruik van algoritmes, is het besef van de noodzaak hiervan nog niet heel wijdverbreid. Dit kan leiden tot weinig transparantie van algoritmes en vooringenomen uitkomsten, zoals bij een algoritme gericht op de bestrijding van uitkeringsfraude. Dit en meer concludeert de Rekenkamer Rotterdam in het rapport ‘Gekleurde technologie’.

From Rekenkamer Rotterdam on April 14, 2021

The Dutch government’s love affair with ethnic profiling

In his article for One World, Florentijn van Rootselaar shows how the Dutch government uses automated systems to profile certain groups based on their ethnicity. He uses several examples to expose how, even though Western countries are often quick to denounce China’s use of technology to surveil, profile and oppress the Uighurs, the same states themselves use or contribute to the development of similar technologies.

Continue reading “The Dutch government’s love affair with ethnic profiling”

Hoe Nederland A.I. inzet voor etnisch profileren

China dat kunstmatige intelligentie inzet om Oeigoeren te onderdrukken: klinkt als een ver-van-je-bed-show? Ook Nederland (ver)volgt specifieke bevolkingsgroepen met algoritmes. Zoals in Roermond, waar camera’s alarm slaan bij auto’s met een Oost-Europees nummerbord.

By Florentijn van Rootselaar for OneWorld on January 14, 2021

Hoe Zwarte Piet verdwijnt van Facebook

Moderatie: Het Facebookbeleid tegen Zwarte Piet begint behoorlijk op stoom te komen. Pro-pietenpagina’s worden hard geraakt, omdat tegenstander de berichten op deze pagina’s volop rapporteren. Toch is het de vraag of Zwarte Piet ooit helemaal van Facebook verdwijnt.

By Reinier Kist and Wilfred Takken for NRC on August 31, 2020

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑