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Here's one reason: In most countries people have an official sex, shown on official documents. (That will change one day: sex should be treated as potentially confidential medical data.) However, most countries have never had an official concept of "race". So if an insurer asked people for their race they could answer whatever gives them the lowest premium and they could not be accused of lying.



That's not true. Most countries don't have an official concept of social classes, so that makes it okay to say that you earn above X (e.g. to someone lending you money) even though you're not making anything? It's still lying.


Most countries have an official concept of annual income. It's used to assess income tax.


Most countries also have laws that prohibit the employer from asking for this information, it's still not OK to lie. Refuse to disclose, yes, but don't lie.

Edit: guys, you should probably consult a lawyer. If you don't refuse to disclose but lie instead, that's called deception and at least in the EU it's a criminal offense. Also, morality, huh?


Is deception in general illegal in the EU? I don't think that is the case in the US. Fraud in the US requires that the person being deceived suffers an injury as a result of their reliance on a misrepresentation of a fact. That would be the case if you were applying for a loan because your income affects your ability to repay the loan, but I don't think it would be the case for an employer because they aren't harmed by your income being lower than what you tell them it is.


Yes, deception is illegal even if no one was, is or will be harmed; the rule is that it's illegal if the deception was made for profit (not just monetary). There are many situations where you profit from deception even though no one is harmed, and that's illegal.


What if insurer asks for the applicant's passport photo and then uses artificial or human intelligence to classify the applicant by race?


That's an interesting question. Of course, not everyone has a passport, but that's a nit: people applying for car insurance typically do have a driving licence with a photo. What would an AI make of a huge database of photos and insurance claims? I'd love it if someone would try the experiment! I doubt the AI would invent the concept of "race" (whatever that means), but it might decide that people with tattoos or piercings should pay more, for example.


If the insurers have everyone's photo, the AI can directly correlate the photos to accident rates and discriminate based on whatever mysterious aspect of the image appearance causes the correlation.


> That will change one day: sex should be treated as potentially confidential medical data.

Why “should” it? Don’t hold your breath.




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