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Discriminatory bias in the use of artificial intelligence, focus of the FSG’S report "Discrimination and the Roma Community 2022" [editar]

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano has presented its 18th Report on 7 November in Seville

07/11/2022
FSG

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Discriminatory bias in the use of artificial intelligence, focus of the FSG’S report
  • The report includes 554 cases of discrimination and antigypsyism reported and assisted by the FSG in 2021.
  • The report's conclusions highlight the increase in Roma awareness of the discrimination they suffer, although there are still barriers that limit the adoption of more active measures of denunciation; this has an impact on access to justice.

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) presented its 18th Annual Report "Discrimination and the Roma Community" today in Seville. The focus of the report is the Discriminatory bias in the use of artificial intelligence and its impact on the Roma community.

The increasing use of algorithms for decision-making and systems based on artificial intelligence in many sectors of society, economy and everyday life, may entail risks for the exercise of fundamental rights, given the different biases (ethnic, gender, etc.) that occur, directly or indirectly, in their design, due to the use of big data that reproduce existing stereotypes and prejudices in society. This Annual Report explores this issue in depth with four articles that assess the possible impact of these systems on human rights and, specifically, on the rights of the Roma community.

Patricia Bezunartea, Director General of Family Diversity and Social Services at the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, and Isidro Rodríguez, Director General of the FSG, took part in the opening ceremony. Isidro Rodríguez, director general of the FSG, recalled that "the purpose of this report is to provide concrete data and verified cases of discrimination that demonstrate that the right to equal treatment of many Roma people is still being violated in our country".

Loles López Gabarro, Regional Minister for Social Inclusion, Youth, Families and Equality of the Andalusian Regional Government, and Sara Giménez, President of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, closed the conference, which was attended by institutional representatives, political parties, state security forces and the Public Prosecutor's Office, representatives of the State Council of the Roma People, members of NGOs and other stakeholders.

Sara Giménez concluded, "cases such as Peal de Becerro and Íllora show us the need to continue denouncing cases of antigypsyism and to accompany the victims”. Moreover, she added, "thanks to the recent Equal Treatment Act, judges will be able to apply the aggravating circumstance of antigypsyism, introduced in the Penal Code. We are confident that the implementation of the law will lead to a better defence of these cases and compensation for the victims".

554 discrimination cases reported

This year's report presents 554 cases of discrimination and antigypsyism reported and assisted by the FSG in 2021, in its capacity as coordinator of the Service of Assistance and Guidance to Victims of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination and the Calí programme for the Equality of Roma Women. In addition, the report includes the most recent advances, good practices, jurisprudence and strategic litigation in the field of discrimination led by the FSG.

The cases registered by the FSG are found in areas such as Communication, involving bad practices in mass media and on the internet, with a total of 87 cases; in Social Media, with a total of 189 cases, many of which are cases of serious hate speech against Roma people; in Employment, with 40 cases; in Access to goods and services, with 79 cases; in Police services, with 26 cases; in Education, with 51 cases; in Housing, with 40 cases; in Health, with 16 cases; and in Other categories (including the most extreme cases of hate crime), with 26 cases.

As for the profile of the victims, discrimination mainly affects Roma people between 18 and 35 years old. Women are also more affected, accounting for 160 of the 265 victims identified.

Conclusions

The report's conclusions highlight the increase in Roma awareness of the discrimination they suffer, although there are still barriers that limit the adoption of more active measures of denunciation; this has an impact on access to justice.

Another conclusion is that positive rulings in strategic litigation cases encourage and trigger more active reporting processes. Therefore, the FSG is reinforcing its work in this regard, bringing more cases of discrimination and antigypsyism to Court, and providing a solid legal defence and comprehensive support to victims throughout the legal process.

Once again, the report confirms that gender is one of the most common factors of intersectional discrimination. Roma women face complex social barriers, which is why they need specialised attention and support, such as that provided by the Equality Professionals who work within the framework of the FSG's Calí Programme for the Equality of Roma women. On the other hand, the cases of intersectional anti-Roma discrimination against children, teenagers and people with disabilities, especially in the field of education, are relevant and worrying.

The cases included in the report show that the extent of discrimination is also related to the dissemination of anti-Roma messages on the internet and social media, ranging from negative stereotypes and the spreading of hoaxes, to inciting violence against Roma. Furthermore, it has been noted that fake news and hoaxes are increasing on these networks by means of automated programmes, fake accounts or bots with a greater impact than reliable news, and a much more negative and extremely dangerous impact.

The english version of the report will be available very soon.

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