Growing concerns over 'biased' software use by NZ Police

By Te Ao - Māori News

Police have revealed that they are using about two dozen software algorithms to fight crime, in what they say is a considered and limited way.

But data expert Karaitiana Taiuru says there are some clear biases in who the software targets.

“By the looks of it, the algorithms are being used to profile youth to see whether they are likely to be criminals."

There are also growing concerns that these data collections, could increase police bias against Māori.

Taiuru says this is largely due to the data the algorithms are based on.

“The algorithm relies on data which is dictated by in this case a police officer and there’s been bias racism in the New Zealand Police for a number of years. By default, that data that sits in the computer system has the same bias and the same racism as the human being who put the data in the computer system.

“So more than likely a middle-aged white man wrote those algorithms to access data from bias and racist data. Therefore it will perpetuate racism and biases based on data.”