Racist Google searches?

It’s tough to imagine computers and robots and electrical wiring being racist but a Harvard study has found “significant discrimination” in advertising results depending on the perceived race of the name you search for. Names typically associated with black people produced more ads related to crime. Searches for white names would be harmless.

That would be, um, racist. The study, done by Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney, found that names that are perceived as more black (Kareem, Leroy and Keisha) were 25% more likely to have advertisements that read ‘Arrested?’ from a website that does criminal record checks than names that weren’t black. Those other names (Brad, Luke and Katie) just had ads for websites that offer generic contact details.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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