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Machine Bias

There are two lessons I take out of this story:

  1. Promote Free Software, Free as in Free Speech, rather mandate their use in such cases. Even Free Software can also be biased but in case of non free software it can become practically impossible to find their biases and correct them.
  2. We as should selling algorithms as magic, instead of saying there is 60 likelihood that person X will commit the crime again, say according to my system the person X is sixty percent similar to other people who commit the crime again with my rather transparent definition of similarity. Ram and Rahim are brother, as brothers of course they are similar at many levels, Ram has commited a crime does that mean Rahim will do it too?

Why isn't the NSA a hot topic in the US elections?

The article talks about how NSA surveillance should be one of the topics of the US presidential election but isn't. It compares the situation with Germany where the population is very privacy conscious. It brings out important facts but doesn't connect them well, it says that German population is privacy conscious because of the human rights violation by Eastern Block Germany and earlier by the Nazi secret police, but it reaches the conclusion that surveillance isn't a hot topic because it is very nuanced and doesn't make good catch phrase. But every topic is nuanced if you look deep enough and every issue has only one answer on the surface. Politicians don't generally aim to change the norm during the election but rather try to attract a sect of people who already agrees with her/him. So the question here should be why does the German population care and US doesn't. Well one of the answers can be history as the author already mentioned, there have been thought policing in the McCarthy era too but not sure about the extent to which it affected the white population. Another important factor should be the corporate influence in politics and maybe media in America compared to Germany. Corporate surveillance goes hand in hand in government surveillance, if corporates doesn't support an issue the issue remains unattractive for the politicians. Also it would be an interesting exercise to study the relation between the profits a parent company make through breaches of privacy and its coverage on surveillance.