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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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