Journalists, Take a Stand

Journalists around the country are being asked to stand for two minutes of silence today at noon EST (9am PST) to protest the threatened imprisonment of Judith Miller and Matt Cooper for refusing to reveal their sources to a grand jury investigating the source of the leaked identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. One-hour vigils are also being organized at federal courthouses across the country. A New York judge will hear further arguments, and possibly impose jail sentences on the two journalists, today.

The situation is one of the most significant threats to the freedom of the press and the public's right to know in U.S. history. The Newspaper Guild has called for a national shield law to protect journalists from revealing their service:

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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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