From Wired: Birny Birnbaum of the Center for Economic Justice tried to persuade the audience that insurance companies use credit report data and data-mining algorithms to single out the poor for higher insurance rates. Birnbaum called the practice 21st-century redlining, referring to a now-outlawed banking practice that discriminated against minorities by refusing to issue mortgages to people buying homes in poorer neighborhoods. ...Across the country, homeless shelters and other service providers are scrambling to implement an electronic homeless-management system by an October 2004 deadline set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Those systems, according to HUD draft standards, will include information on homeless individuals' incomes, mental health histories, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. The databases would keep the information for seven years. The impetus for the homeless-management system came from Congress, which told HUD to come up with a better way to count the number of homeless people. Cindy Southworth, technology director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told conference goers that the mandated databases would endanger the lives of women fleeing a violent partner. She argued that there are simpler, cheaper and less-invasive ways to achieve the goal of a homeless census.


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