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Entrenching the Surveillance State with COVID-19 Contact Tracing Data

COVID-19 has brought on a number of ethical challenges in harnessing mobile data for contract tracing purposes. There is a heightened interest around the world in using location data, specifically held by companies like Google and Facebook, to track individuals with coronavirus in order to understand how effective social distancing measures can be, as well …

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Facebook Reveals Racism in its Algorithm

Facebook is facing severe backlash after its AI video recommendation system mislabelled a video of Black men as “primates.” Facebook users who watched the video were prompted to “keep seeing videos about Primates.” Posted on June 27, 2021 by the British tabloid Daily Mail, the video features clips of Black men in altercations with white …

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US Biometric Data Now in Hands of Taliban

During the 20 year-long U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan, Afghans living in the region were subjected to extensive biometric data collections, in order to catalogue terrorists–as well as millions of Afghan civilians helping Western forces.  With the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban in recent weeks, many fear that the Taliban could gain …

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Location Data Leak Leads To Top Church Official Resignation

Last week, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a top official in the Roman Catholic Church’s American hierarchy resigned after data from his cellphone showed that he had been using Grindr, an L.G.B.T.Q dating app, and regularly visiting gay bars. In a memo, The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that Burrill has resigned as general secretary, the …

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Fake Warships Location Data Leading to Safety Concerns

On September 17th, 2020, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest ship in the U.K’s Royal Navy, sailed towards the Irish Sea. An entourage of her smaller ships followed. However, satellite imagery of the region at the same time showed nothing but open ocean. No 283-meter-long fleet flagship was detected, nor were any of the smaller …

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The Locus Charter Announces Initial Supporting Organizations

The Locus Charter is pleased to announce support from the following organizations: the American Geographical Society (AGS), Association for Geographical Information (AGI), Environmental Information Systems Africa (EIS – Africa), the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI – Mexico), Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), PLACE, Radiant Earth Foundation, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (RGS-IBG), and the Royal …

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Privacy Settings: Agency Over Your Data

The way people interact with their devices is changing, and protecting personal information is on a lot of people’s minds. We are becoming more aware of the ownership of our own data and what could happen if our data is placed in the wrong hands.  Google recently made headlines when it was alleged that the …

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EthicalGEO Celebration Event

Join the American Geographical Society on Wednesday, March 14 at 1 pm ET to celebrate the work and achievements of our EthicalGEO Initiative and envision the journey ahead! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MycxKgJlMSU Established in 2019 with the support of Omidyar Network, the EthicalGEO Initiative was launched with a nation-wide video competition soliciting proposals from scholars and practitioners working …

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Launching the Locus Charter

EthicalGEO is proud to partner with the Benchmark Initiative to launch the Locus Charter, a set of guidelines promoting the ethical and responsible use of location data around the world.  The Locus Charter stemmed out of a partnership between EthicalGEO and the Benchmark Initiative first made in 2019.  Over the course of the last year …

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COVID-19 and Geoprivacy

What are people’s opinions about COVID-19 mitigation measures harnessing sensitive location information (e.g., digital contact tracing)? How do those opinions differ between people living in South Korea and the U.S.? We answered these questions by using data collected through an online survey.  Specifically, we investigated how people’s acceptance, privacy concerns, and perceptions of social benefits …

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