Low-income communities are among the most closely observed in America — and it’s not just the police who are watching, said Venable Professor of Law Michele Gilman in an Atlantic magazine article, “How Big Data Harms Poor Communities” (April 8).
The article described the practice, common in many jurisdictions, of requiring public-benefits recipients to submit to fingerprinting and drug tests. Recipients are also often monitored by officials who demand entry to their homes as well as an accounting of how benefits such as food stamps are spent.
Moreover, data gathered by such officials can wind up in police systems, leading to a cycle of surveillance.
“It becomes part of these big-data information flows that most people aren’t aware they’re captured in, but that can have really concrete impacts on opportunities,” Gilman said.