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Avoiding Discrimination through Causal Reasoning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Recent work on fairness in machine learning has focused on various statistical discrimination criteria and how they trade off. Most of these criteria are observational: They depend only on the joint distribution of predictor, protected attribute, features, and outcome. While convenient to work with, observational criteria have severe inherent limitations that prevent them from resolving matters of fairness conclusively. Going beyond observational criteria, we frame the problem of discrimination based on protected attributes in the language of causal reasoning. This viewpoint shifts attention from "What is the right fairness criterion?" to "What do we want to assume about the causal data generating process?" Through the lens of causality, we make several contributions. First, we crisply articulate why and when observational criteria fail, thus formalizing what was before a matter of opinion. Second, our approach exposes previously ignored subtleties and why they are fundamental to the problem. Finally, we put forward natural causal non-discrimination criteria and develop algorithms that satisfy them.


Avoiding Discrimination through Causal Reasoning

Neural Information Processing Systems

Recent work on fairness in machine learning has focused on various statistical discrimination criteria and how they trade off. Most of these criteria are observational: They depend only on the joint distribution of predictor, protected attribute, features, and outcome. While convenient to work with, observational criteria have severe inherent limitations that prevent them from resolving matters of fairness conclusively. Going beyond observational criteria, we frame the problem of discrimination based on protected attributes in the language of causal reasoning. This viewpoint shifts attention from "What is the right fairness criterion?" to "What do we want to assume about our model of the causal data generating process?" Through the lens of causality, we make several contributions. First, we crisply articulate why and when observational criteria fail, thus formalizing what was before a matter of opinion. Second, our approach exposes previously ignored subtleties and why they are fundamental to the problem. Finally, we put forward natural causal non-discrimination criteria and develop algorithms that satisfy them.


Over 65K Routers Abusing UPnP to Proxy Bad Traffic for Botnets - Latest Hacking News

#artificialintelligence

A report published by Akamai detected those threat actors were abusing at least 65,000 routers to create proxy networks for various illegal activities. According to the company's report, the attackers are using UPnP to create proxy networks for various illegal activities. Despite UPnP being crucial for every modern router, the protocol has proven to be insecure with most malware authors having used UPnP flaws. The Hackers are using misconfigured UPnP services to inject malicious routes inside the network address translation tables, NAT is a set of rules that control how IP's and ports from the router's internal networks are mapped to the external networks. Custom NAT if not configured properly provides easy access to the network using the router's public IP on a specific port, this flaw allows attackers to use routers with misconfigured UPnP services as proxy servers for their operations.


Hunting for Discriminatory Proxies in Linear Regression Models

Neural Information Processing Systems

A machine learning model may exhibit discrimination when used to make decisions involving people. One potential cause for such outcomes is that the model uses a statistical proxy for a protected demographic attribute. In this paper we formulate a definition of proxy use for the setting of linear regression and present algorithms for detecting proxies. Our definition follows recent work on proxies in classification models, and characterizes a model's constituent behavior that: 1) correlates closely with a protected random variable, and 2) is causally influential in the overall behavior of the model. We show that proxies in linear regression models can be efficiently identified by solving a second-order cone program, and further extend this result to account for situations where the use of a certain input variable is justified as a ``business necessity''. Finally, we present empirical results on two law enforcement datasets that exhibit varying degrees of racial disparity in prediction outcomes, demonstrating that proxies shed useful light on the causes of discriminatory behavior in models.


Hunting for Discriminatory Proxies in Linear Regression Models

Neural Information Processing Systems

A machine learning model may exhibit discrimination when used to make decisions involving people. One potential cause for such outcomes is that the model uses a statistical proxy for a protected demographic attribute. In this paper we formulate a definition of proxy use for the setting of linear regression and present algorithms for detecting proxies. Our definition follows recent work on proxies in classification models, and characterizes a model's constituent behavior that: 1) correlates closely with a protected random variable, and 2) is causally influential in the overall behavior of the model. We show that proxies in linear regression models can be efficiently identified by solving a second-order cone program, and further extend this result to account for situations where the use of a certain input variable is justified as a ``business necessity''. Finally, we present empirical results on two law enforcement datasets that exhibit varying degrees of racial disparity in prediction outcomes, demonstrating that proxies shed useful light on the causes of discriminatory behavior in models.