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Exclusion by Algorithm: GIGO

February 21, 2020 (1 min read)

Robert Mackey, The Intercept, Feb. 20, 2020

"Eyal Weizman, an Israeli-born British architect who uses visual analysis to investigate war crimes and other forms of state violence, was barred from traveling to the United States this week for an exhibition of his work after being identified as a security risk by an algorithm used by the Department of Homeland Security. ... When he visited the U.S. Embassy in London to find out what happened, Weizman said in an interview, an officer told him that his authorization to travel had been revoked because “the algorithm” had identified an unspecified security threat associated with him. ... The lack of information about why, exactly, the computer software had barred Weizman from traveling to the U.S. led to speculation that the algorithm might have been gamed by false information provided to American authorities by his critics. ... The ban on Weizman’s travel was denounced on Thursday by Margaret Huang, the executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Stopping Eyal Weizman from entering the United States does a grave disservice to human rights documentation efforts,” Huang said in a statement. “It would be ludicrous to suggest that Eyal Weizman poses a security threat, and it’s an embarrassment for the U.S. to bar him.” “Invoking the results of an algorithm cannot disguise the spurious nature of this visa decision, and, in fact, it heightens our concerns about how the decision was taken,” Huang added. “This is ideological exclusion via algorithm, a troubling indicator of the bias and irrationality of the high-tech security state.” "