Central Park Five prosecutor faces backlash after Netflix show exposes her key role in constructing the false narrative

CC BY-SA 2.0. File:'Women for Vance' Breakfast

I bet Linda Fairstein, the former New York City sex-crimes prosecutor, was enjoying her life up through last week. As she would; Fairstein built an accomplished legal career, earning the respect of her peers and rubbing elbows with the top of the New York elite, such as film mogul and accused serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. She's even published a collection of bestselling mystery novels.

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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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