Margaret Hu, 'Algorithmic Jim Crow"

Margaret Hu, 'Algorithmic Jim Crow"
September 28, 2017 - 2:00 PM

Margaret Hu, Assoc. Prof. Law, Washington and Lee University, presents:

"Algorithmic Jim Crow"

Public Lecture, Thurs., Sept. 28, 2017, Cone 113, 2:00-3:30. Everyone welcome!


Abstract: This presentation contends that immigration- and security-related vetting protocols risk promulgating an algorithmically-driven form of Jim Crow.  Under the “separate but equal” discrimination of a historic Jim Crow regime, state laws first required mandatory separation and discrimination on the front end, and then supposedly established equality on the back end. In contrast, an Algorithmic Jim Crow regime allows for “equal but separate” discrimination. In this system, newly developed big data vetting tools fuse biometric data with biographic data and Internet/Social Media profiling to algorithmically assess risk. Because everyone will be assessed this way, the screening appears to be equal. However, those individuals and groups negatively and disparately impacted by mandatory vetting and screening protocols will largely be the same as groups traditionally discriminated against on the basis of classifications like race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and religion.  Thus, under Algorithmic Jim Crow, equal vetting and database screening of all citizens and noncitizens will make it appear that fairness and equality principles are preserved.  However, this apparent equality will enable discrimination on the back end in the form of designing, interpreting, and acting upon vetting and screening systems in ways that result in a disparate impact.

Margaret appears as part of our series on "Black Feminist Responses to Surveillance." Other speakers in the series include:

Shaka McGlotten, Oct. 26.


For a jpeg of this flyer, click here.


Cosponsored by a Chancellor's Diversity Grant