Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:30
UK Home Office Drops ‘Racist’ Algorithm for Visa Applicants After Migrants’ Rights Campaigners Launch Legal Challenge
TEHRAN (FNA)- The UK agreed to stop using a computer algorithm to help decide visa applications after migrants’ rights campaigners launched a judicial review of the "racist" system, which they say enabled "speedy boarding for white people”.

The UK Home Office has agreed to scrap its “visa streaming” algorithm, in response to a legal challenge by The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and digital rights group Foxglove, according to RT. 

A letter sent to the campaign groups confirmed that Home Secretary Priti Patel is to suspend the controversial artificial intelligence (AI) system on August 7. A redesign - scheduled to be completed by the autumn - will consider “issues around unconscious bias and the use of nationality” in automated visa applications.

In their submission to the high court, The JWCI and Foxglove insisted that the algorithm created a traffic light system for applicants, where a so-called “fast lane” would allow “speedy boarding for white people” from the most favored nations in the Home Office system. 

The Home Office has rejected that characterization. However, The JWCI’s legal policy director - Chai Patel - claimed the algorithm was the product of “decades of institutionally racist practices” that targeted “particular nationalities for immigration raids”.

The “streaming algorithm", which campaigners claim created a “hostile environment” for immigrants, has been used since 2015 to process visa applications to the UK.

People from red-flagged countries “received intensive scrutiny by Home Office officials", took longer to process and “were much more likely to be refused” a visa, according to The JWCI. The group argued that this procedure amounted to racial discrimination, putting it in breach of the UK Equality Act. 

The UK Home Office is no stranger to courting race-related controversy. The 2018 Windrush scandal which concerned people who were wrongly detained and denied benefits in the UK, with scores deported to Caribbean countries, is a case in point.

It emerged that in 2010,  the Home Office – led by former UK PM Theresa May – destroyed the flight landing cards for a generation of Commonwealth citizens who had migrated to the UK, leaving many Caribbean migrants fearing for their right to remain in the country.

The ‘hostile environment’ - a policy created by May - was designed to make staying in the UK as difficult as possible. It was best illustrated by the 2013 ‘go home vans’ that toured the country, trying to encourage ‘illegal immigrants’ to leave voluntarily.






Bottom top
Iran Released Images of US Carrier Strike Group Detected by IRGC Naval Drones Near Hormuz Strait

TEHRAN (FNA)- A US Navy Aircraft carrier group, including a Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier and its escorting battleships, were monitored by home-made drones of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy before approaching the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. The IRGCN later released the images taken by its drones. [PHOTOS]
US: Fires Leave Apocalyptic Scenes in Oregon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Apocalyptic scenes of charred neighborhoods in Southern Oregon after a blitz of deadly wildfires. [PHOTOS]
Bulgaria: Thousands Demand PM to Resign at Independence Day Protest

TEHRAN (FNA)- Thousands of protesters rallied in Sofia on Bulgaria's Independence Day demanding the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Demonstrators could be seen waving Bulgarian flags and flashlights, as well as chanting anti-government slogans and scuffling with police. [VIDEO]
US COVID-19 Deaths Memorialized on National Mall as Toll Passes 200,000

TEHRAN (FNA)- Volunteers from the COVID-19 Memorial Project have placed 20,000 American flags on the National Mall as the United States crosses the threshold of 200,000 lives lost in the Covid-19 pandemic. [VIDEO]
Mourning Ceremony of Martyrdom Anniversary of Hazrat Ruqayyah (SA) under Strict COVID-19 Health Protocols

TEHRAN (FNA)- Mourning ceremonies were held in Iran to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Ruqayyah (SA) in the lunar month of Safar, under strict health protocols amid the COVID-19 outbreak. [PHOTOS]
US: 20,000 Flags Placed on National Mall Mark COVID-19 Deaths

TEHRAN (FNA)- Twenty thousand flags were placed on the National Mall in Washington, DC in remembrance of the over 200,000 American lives lost due to complications related to COVID-19. [PHOTOS]
US Occupation of Syria Is Now Official

TEHRAN (FNA)- The United States has now sent more occupying forces into Syria in clear violation of international law.
Iranian Students Win Colorful Medals at Singapore Math Olympiad

TEHRAN (FNA)- Six students from Iran's Hormuzgan province have received one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO 2020), provincial Education Department official Mohammad Qavidel announced on Wednesday.
Iran, Nigeria Vow to Broaden Energy Cooperation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Ambassador to Abuja Mohammad Ali Bak and Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Marlin Sylva in a meeting in Abuja underlined the need to expand cooperation in the field of energy resources.
IRGC Warns of Harsh Response to Any US Inspection of Iranian Ships

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi warned that any US move to inspect the Iranian vessels in international waters will be faced with not only defensive, but also offensive moves by Iran.
UK Foreign Secretary Warns Second Lockdown Could Be Needed If New COVID-19 Rules Don't Work

TEHRAN (FNA)- A second national lockdown could be needed if the latest coronavirus restrictions do not work, the foreign secretary told Sky News.
Iran, Sweden Discuss Ways to Send Humanitarian Aid to Yemenis

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Assistant to the Iranian Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs Ali Asqar Khaji and Sweden's Special Envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby on Wednesday conferred on ways to dispatch food and medicine to the war-hit Yemeni people.
VP: Iran to Export PCR Kits Soon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said that Iran is preparing the needed grounds for export of coronavirus PCR kits, adding that the country is also increasing export of ventilators to different countries.
Trump Accused of Turning UN Speech into Election Rally After Railing Aainst China over COVID

TEHRAN (FNA)- US President Donald Trump celebrated his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and blamed China for the “plague” the country “unleashed on to the world” in a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York that was quickly decried by critics as a “virtual, campaign-like address”.
Prosecutor General: Martyr Soleimani’s Case Closed Only by Avenging Perpetrators

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri warned that Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani's assassination case will be open as long as Iran has not taken full revenge from all the criminals behind the terror attack on the former Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander.