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Bad Data Always Leads to Bad Ethics

The COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced some very important ethical questions. Particular to this space is using geolocation to track individuals and respond to the crisis. Yet there is a connected, although broader, concept that concerns me more than the compromised privacy that comes with tracking. I’m concerned that we are making important decisions based on terribly …

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Towards a collaborative future, the silver lining amidst the crisis

In recent weeks, we have all started to increasingly populate our daily reads with news about COVID-19. As an EthicalGEO Fellow, I have been on top of reports about how governments are accessing geolocation data of diagnosed patients to trace back their activities and identify other potential cases. This idea has raised many concerns about …

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The Practical Application of the GIS Code of Ethics – A Case Study

For those who live in the Seattle area or for those who visit Seattle, SeaTac is a curious name but also the most frequent gateway to the Pacific Northwest. A few years ago it was also the location of an interesting case in the practical application of the GIS Code of Ethics. The ethical use …

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Robots Save Elephants and Rhinoceros

Artificial Intelligence continues to be a very controversial issue fueling a multitude of ethical questions on surveillance, data security, the potential loss of human jobs, and, in the most extreme, the fear of “the rise of the robots”. Could this same technology that is alarming to some also be used to benefit wildlife conservation? Recent …

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EthicalGEO in the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development

The UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (Decade) represents a global effort to reverse the trend of declining ocean health observed in the last decades. Through it, stakeholders around the world representing research institutions, UN organizations, business, technology, NGOs, philanthropy and many other sectors, will come together focused on a shared interest, our …

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YouthMappers + EthicalGEO

YouthMappers, an organization working to “cultivate a generation of young leaders to create resilient communities and to define their world by mapping it,” has taken extraordinary steps to ensure their work does no harm to the communities they serve. Check out the vlog from YouthMappers Director and Co-founder Dr. Patricia Solís, discussing considerations the organization …

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Productivity vs. Privacy: Tracking Workers On (and Off) the Job

In February of 2018, Amazon was awarded two patents for a new wristband device that could track the locations and hand movements of warehouse workers in real time. The wristband was described as part of a “haptic feedback” system that would sense the location of a worker’s wrist in relation to some external equipment — …

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The Ethical Mapping Guidelines: how not to map

Douglas Namale of Map Kibera Trust shares a map of Kibera schools with a school leader. Those who are currently on the margins of a society are in a particularly disadvantaged position with regard to decision making, and data and maps may either contribute to that imbalance or help to rectify it. Vulnerability essentially means …

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ICE under Fire

Buying and selling personal location data isn’t new. We know that when we open Google Maps, order an Uber, or check the weather, someone, somewhere, probably knows about it. Using these apps has become an integral part of operating in the modern age; we take advantage of them because they are widely available, and they …

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Geospatial Ethics: Beg, Borrow, and Steal

I often wonder whether the author of Ecclesiastes was right when writing, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It seems like a question that the real geographers among us could best answer, but I also think the question is relevant to those of us working in the area of geospatial ethics. More specifically, I …

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