Why the Ashley Madison Leak Puts Thousands of Women & LGBT Lives at Risk in Intolerant Countries

Soon after the Ashley Madison details were made public Wednesday, tabloids fell all over each other to find juicy tidbits of hypocrisy and moral corruption — especially of their political enemies. Yesterday afternoon Gawker hit gold, revealing that Josh Duggar, a known pedophile and the reigning king of rightwing hypocrites, had sought extramarital affairs on both Ashley Madison and OKCupid. In no time, the Schadenfreude-giddy blogs were basking in another Duggar scandal. But was it all worth it?

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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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