Magazine article Information Management

Alarm Sounded against Algorithmic 'Extreme Vetting'

Magazine article Information Management

Alarm Sounded against Algorithmic 'Extreme Vetting'

Article excerpt

FCW.com recently reported on the backlash generated by the Trump administration's plan to use predictive software and data mining to judge threats and benefits posed by immigrants and visitors. Opponents consider the practice to be arbitrary and discriminatory, according to letters from technologists and privacy advocates.

According to the article, a letter to acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke urging herto abandon the vetting effort was signed by 54 computer scientists, mathematicians, and other technologists. The letter said the goals of the "extreme vetting" policy would generate poor specifications and result in discriminatory or arbitrary results.

"Algorithms designed to predict... undefined qualities could be used to arbitrarily flag groups of immigrants under a veneer of objectivity," the group wrote. The signatories included three former Federal Trade Commission technologists and others with institutional affiliations ranging from Harvard and MIT to Microsoft and Google. …

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