Smartphone App Accused of Racism
A new app called SketchFactor that uses crowd-sourced data to inform users of the more unsafe -- or "sketchy" -- areas of a city or neighborhood is facing charges that it's racist. One critic wrote on Bustle, "The app will only tell you what 'seemed sketchy' to other people. And if we are to assume that most of these users are young white people with smartphones, then it isn't long before people's internalized biases . . . start to rear their ugly heads."
But while anyone can report anything they perceive as sketchy using the app, PC Magazine says that it also includes crime data for cities that offer it, something the Bustle critic had incorrectly said it doesn't do.
SketchFactor co-founders Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington have been defending their app against the racist charges, writing on its website, "SketchFactor is a tool that can be used by anywhere at any time by anyone. The app is not exclusive to privileged communities or tourists. Many or our users experience racial profiling, police misconduct and harassment. We encourage all users to report this information. In addition, we partner with community organizations to ensure all members of the community have access to this app."
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