The Homeland Security Insurance Scam

Isn't it good to know that the humongous department of homeland security is so wisely spending our tax dollars to defend us from terrorists?

Take, for example, the slick mass mailing recently put out by DHS urging America's homeowners to buy flood insurance. Yes, flood insurance. In the midst of various color-coded warnings about imminent terrorist attacks on America, our homeland security authorities are spending their time and our money to hawk flood policies on behalf of giant insurance corporations!

In a breathless and alarmist letter mailed to thousands of people, including my friend Susan, Mr. Michael Brown, purporting to be the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, warns in bold type that "Floods can happen anywhere." In a scary, red-tag warning on the envelope, Under Secretary Brown direly informs us that "Homeowners insurance doesn't cover you for America's #1 natural disaster." So, in his letter, this homeland czarist shrieks in blood-red type: "Don't Delay! Get Flood Insurance Today." Ever so helpfully, he even provides the name and number of "selected agents" in your area who sell these insurance policies, urging you to "Call your agent."

Of course, the vast majority of homeowners don't live in a flood plain and have no need whatsoever to waste their hard-earned money on such insurance. Indeed, my friend Susan lives on an upslope that has never, ever come close to being flooded. Also, Susan is not even a homeowner! Yet, in the enclosed brochure, the homeland authorities declare that "Flood insurance is for everyone."

Why is our government shilling for insurance giants, fraudulently peddling policies to people who don't need them and will never collect on them? If the homeland security department doesn't have anything better to do than run insurance scams, congress should yank its $40-billion-a-year budget.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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