Netherlands Using a Racist Algorithm to Process Visa Applications

A well-known investigative journalism center has claimed that the Netherlands has been using a racist algorithm to process visa applications since 2015.

“Unknown to the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been using a profiling system to calculate the risk score of short-stay visa applicants applying to enter the Netherlands and Schengen Area since 2015,” Lighthouse Reports said in an investigative report on the issues published on Monday.

The algorithm – a finite sequence of rigorous instructions to solve specific problems or to perform a computation – was used on millions of visa applicants, using variables such as nationality, gender, and age, the report revealed.

According to the report, the internal data protection officer advised the ministry to “immediately stop profiling visa applicants to distinguish them partly on the basis of nationality and then treating them unequally on the basis of that distinction,” claiming that it is still active and uses nationality as a variable.

Commenting on the report, Kati Piri, a Dutch lawmaker and member of the House of Representatives, claimed that “from countries like Morocco and Suriname, it is incredibly difficult to get a visa.”

She described the use of algorithmic visa profiling as “downright shocking.” (AA)

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