A wrenching and beautifully argued essay by Virginia Eubanks describes the inevitable consequences of letting secret, unaccountable algorithms decide who is eligible for welfare.
The essay is part of New America's What Drives Innovation Around the Country conference, and it describes the drive to outsource management of critical state services to private firms that control costs by using proprietary, secret algorithms to ascribe suspicion and guilt to members of the public.
It's the no-fly-list model of governance, metastasizing into schools, crime prevention, child benefits, welfare, and every other area of public life.
In December 2007, Indiana resident Sheila Perdue received a notice in the mail that she must participate in a telephone interview in order to be recertified to receive public assistance. In the past, Perdue, who is deaf and suffers from emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bipolar disorder, would have visited her local caseworker to explain why this was impossible. But the state’s welfare eligibility system had recently been “modernized,” leaving a website and an 800 number as the primary ways to communicate with the Family and Social Services Administration.
Perdue requested and was denied an in-person interview. She gathered her paperwork, traveled to a nearby help center, and requested assistance. Employees at the center referred her to the online system. Uncomfortable with the technology, she asked for help with the online forms and was refused. She filled out the application to the best of her ability. Several weeks later, she learned she was denied recertification. The reason? “Failure to cooperate” in establishing eligibility.
The Policy Machine [Virginia Eubanks/Slate]
Last June Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept published and reported on a massive trove of explosive leaks that revealed that top prosecutors and the judge who eventually became the justice minister of Brazil conspired to rig the corruption trial of the beloved and incredibly popular leader Lula, sending him to prison as part of their […]
The International Olympic Committee -- long a swirling cesspool of corruption, censorship, and reputation-laundering for repressive regimes -- has attained a new low, issuing guidance to athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that no political protests will be tolerated, specifically banning kneeling or raising fists.
Maryland's Larry Hogan -- a Republican who governs a blue state -- is the most popular governor in America, with a 73% approval among state Democrats. He is also a flagrant crook.
More and more people are flocking to a wide variety of careers in IT, thanks mostly to the high pay, plentiful advancement opportunities, and an exciting atmosphere that offers new challenges every day. The only problem is that this high demand means competition can be fierce if you’re entering the job market for the first […]
Going to the beach is almost always an enjoyable experience, but trekking back through your house on the way to the shower can leave a trail of sand the quickly saps the day of its sunny fun. Thankfully this BeachBox: Portable Shower & Storage unit has you covered the next time you hit the beach. […]
When it comes to immediately grabbing a reader’s attention in any medium, few things are more important than picking the perfect font—regardless of whether you’re advertising your brand online or in print. The MyFonts Monotype Fresh Font Bundle offers over 50 handcrafted fonts from one of the world’s most revered typeface companies, and it’s available […]