2017 Press room

Here is a collection of press coverage of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.

Back to the Press Room

Trump’s “extreme-vetting” software will discriminate against immigrants “Under a veneer of objectivity,” say experts

Sam Biddle - The Intercept - 16 November 2017

Kristian Lum, lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (and letter signatory), fears that “in order to flag even a small proportion of future terrorists, this tool will likely flag a huge number of people who would never go on to be terrorists,” and that “these ‘false positives’ will be real people who would never have gone on to commit criminal acts but will suffer the consequences of being flagged just the same.”

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Calculations for the Greater Good

Dana Goldman - Emory Public Health - Fall 2017

Rollins School of Public HealthAs executive director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, Megan Price uses statistics to shine the light on human rights abuses.

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Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses

Stephen Buryani - The Guardian - 8 August 2017

“If you’re not careful, you risk automating the exact same biases these programs are supposed to eliminate,” says Kristian Lum, the lead statistician at the San Francisco-based, non-profit Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). Last year, Lum and a co-author showed that PredPol, a program for police departments that predicts hotspots where future crime might occur, could potentially get stuck in a feedback loop of over-policing majority black and brown neighbourhoods. The program was “learning” from previous crime reports. For Samuel Sinyangwe, a justice activist and policy researcher, this kind of approach is “especially nefarious” because police can say: “We’re not being biased, we’re just doing what the math tells us.” And the public perception might be that the algorithms are impartial.

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Crean sistema para predecir fosas clandestinas en México

- Huffington Post Mexico - 26 June 2017

Por ello, Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), el Programa de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) y Data Cívica, realizan un análisis estadístico construido a partir de una variable en la que se identifican fosas clandestinas a partir de búsquedas automatizadas en medios locales y nacionales, y usando datos geográficos y sociodemográficos.

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Mapping Mexico’s hidden graves

Lizzie Wade - Science - 26 June 2017

When Patrick Ball was introduced to Ibero’s database, the director of research at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group in San Francisco, California, saw an opportunity to turn the data into a predictive model. Ball, who has used similar models to document human rights violations from Syria to Guatemala, soon invited Data Cívica, a Mexico City–based nonprofit that creates tools for analyzing data, to join the project.

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Sobre fosas clandestinas, tenemos más información que el gobierno: Ibero

- Aristegui Noticias - 23 June 2017

El modelo “puede distinguir entre los municipios en que vamos a encontrar fosas clandestinas, y en los que es improbable que vayamos a encontrar estas fosas”, explicó Patrick Ball, estadístico estadounidense que colabora con el Programa de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Iberoamericana de la Ciudad de México.

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Fosas clandestinas en México manifiestan existencia de crímenes de lesa humanidad

Pedro Rendón - Ibero Ciudad de México - 23 June 2017

Patrick Ball, estadístico norteamericano, colabora con el Programa de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Iberoamericana en una investigación sobre fosas clandestinas.

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The ghost in the machine

Wendy M. Grossman - net.wars - 16 June, 2017

“Every kind of classification system – human or machine – has several kinds of errors it might make,” [Patrick Ball] says. “To frame that in a machine learning context, what kind of error do we want the machine to make?” HRDAG’s work on predictive policing shows that “predictive policing” finds patterns in police records, not patterns in occurrence of crime.

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5 Questions for Kristian Lum

Joshua New - Center for Data Innovation - 12 June, 2017

Kristian Lum discusses the challenges of getting accurate data from conflict zones, as well as her concerns about predictive policing if law enforcement gets it wrong.

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Machine learning is being used to uncover the mass graves of Mexico’s missing

Mimi Onuoha - Quartz - 19 April 2017

“Patrick Ball, HRDAG’s Director of Research and the statistician behind the code, explained that the Random Forest classifier was able to predict with 100% accuracy which counties that would go on to have mass graves found in them in 2014 by using the model against data from 2013. The model also predicted the counties that did not have mass hidden graves found in them, but that show a high likelihood of the possibility. This prediction aspect of the model is the part that holds the most potential for future research.”

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Hunting for Mexico’s mass graves with machine learning

J. M. Porup - Ars Technica - 17 April 2017

“The model uses obvious predictor variables, Ball says, such as whether or not a drug lab has been busted in that county, or if the county borders the United States, or the ocean, but also includes less-obvious predictor variables such as the percentage of the county that is mountainous, the presence of highways, and the academic results of primary and secondary school students in the county.”

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Data-driven crime prediction fails to erase human bias

Rachel Ehrenberg - Science News - 8 March 2017

Work by HRDAG researchers Kristian Lum and William Isaac is cited in this article about the Policing Project: “While this bias knows no color or socioeconomic class, Lum and her HRDAG colleague William Isaac demonstrate that it can lead to policing that unfairly targets minorities and those living in poorer neighborhoods.”

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What happens when you look at crime by the numbers

Kathiann Kowalski - Science News for Students - 28 February 2017

Kristian Lum’s work on the HRDAG Policing Project is referred to here: “In fact, Lum argues, it’s not clear how well this model worked at depicting the situation in Oakland. Those data on drug crimes were biased, she now reports. The problem was not deliberate, she says. Rather, data collectors just missed some criminals and crime sites. So data on them never made it into her model.”

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Documenting Syrian Deaths with Data Science

Karthika Swamy Cohen and Lina Sorg - SIAM News Blog - 7 February 2017

Coverage of Megan Price at the Women in Data Science Conference held at Stanford University. “Price discussed her organization’s behind-the-scenes work to collect and analyze data on the ground for human rights advocacy organizations. HRDAG partners with a wide variety of human rights organizations, including local grassroots non-governmental groups and—most notably—multiple branches of the United Nations.”

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Amnesty International Reports Organized Murder Of Detainees In Syrian Prison

Richard Gonzales - NPR the two-way - 6 February 2017

100x100nprReports of torture and disappearances in Syria are not new. But the Amnesty International report says the magnitude and severity of abuse has “increased drastically” since 2011. Citing the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, the report says “at least 17,723 people were killed in government custody between March 2011 and December 2015, an average of 300 deaths each month.”

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How data science is changing the face of human rights

Marlene Den Bleyker - Silicon Angle - 6 February 2017

100x100siliconangleOn the heels of the Women in Data Science conference, HRDAG executive director Megan Price says, “I think creativity and communication are probably the two most important skills for a data scientist to have these days.”

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