Journalist on Crackdown in Ferguson: "Police Beckoned Us Over, Then Opened Fire When We Were Near"

Protests over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown have continued for a 10th night in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters are calling for the arrest of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed teenager six times, including twice in the head. According to The New York Times, Attorney General Eric Holder and top Justice Department officials are weighing whether to open a broader civil rights investigation to look at Ferguson’s police practices at large. Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Ferguson Police Department to stop harassing and detaining journalists. At least 11 journalists have been detained while covering the protests sparked by the shooting of Brown. We speak to Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept. On Monday night covering the demonstrations, he was shot by a rubber bullet, arrested and jailed overnight.

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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.

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