Using the genetic testing tool 23andMe, one enterprising coder known only as ‘offensive-computing’, published a program on July 20th called Genetic Access Control, a way to block people from websites and apps based on their gender, ancestry, or any genetic characteristic.

In an example on his GitHub page, it shows the program denying someone access for not being white enough.

Coder uses genetic testing site to write a program that blocks people who aren't "white enough". Image 1.

Before 23andMe shut off the data, anyone who had submitted genetic profile information could use the demo. The GitHub page suggests that the program might be used to create “safe spaces”, such as a female-only space, online dating that reduces the chance of a child with a genetic congenital disease, or groups defined by their ethnic or religious background.

Coder uses genetic testing site to write a program that blocks people who aren't "white enough". Image 2.

Given the coder's name, and his choice of demonstration, it seems unlikely this program was an innocent attempt to bring people together. Another Github user asked whether the code was meant to empower minorities, work as a political statement or simply to be offensive. offensive-computing responded: “Why can’t it be all three?”

   

Facts about Racism and coding:

 During the holocaust, IBM provided the technology to keep track of the demographic details of Germans via punchcards. They sorted the cards into categories that determined who went to concentration camps. 

 Earlier this year, the new program Google Photos was found to be identifying African Americans in photos as "gorillas." 

 After the release of the Apple Watch, it was found that some of the watches features did not work for people with darker skin.