Ethical dilemmas in GI, especially GI-monitoring of refugees

Session

Flygtninge og GIS

Abstract

Digital geodata repositories can be extremely useful in the planning and execution of humanitarian aid for refugees and internally displaced persons. But can the very same repositories be used for other, less noble purposes? The question can also be posed concerning the techniques applied for the acquisition and integration of these geodata.

Målgruppe

People with an interest in the discussion of how geodata is being used in relation to humanitarian aid

Yderligere uddybning af abstract

Scientists and engineers always plan for the best; so the ethical issues following a new technology mostly come unexpected. Nonetheless, responsibility lies not only with the executive organizations and individuals, but also with the scientific developers.

What unintended side-effects can digital mapping provoke? A map is one of the most fundamental human technologies – like controlled combustion and water pumps. But is the map one single and hence neutral imaging of the earth, or does the mapping contain political and moral choices? And how does digitalization affect this?

Along with digitalization a strong wave of marketization has been noticeable in the \'mapping business\'. Does the interplay between those phenomena raise new ethical challenges?

Digital geodata repositories can be extremely useful in the planning and execution of humanitarian aid for refugees and internally displaced persons. But can the very same repositories be used for other, less noble purposes? The question can also be posed concerning the techniques applied for the acquisition and integration of these geodata.

Could the data possibly be misused, e.g. in coordination with deployment of drone flights? Some refugee aid operations take place in areas, where also private military contractors (like Vinnell and Academi) are active. Do we find ethical concerns when cooperating with private contractors in handling the tasks of monitoring refugees?

Are there any privacy issues in monitoring refugees via satellite? If data are economically valuable, are they also safely stored? These questions and more will be addressed.

Klavs Birkholm is senior researcher in ethics and technology. He is co-founder of the new academic discipline techno-anthropology at Aalborg University. He recently published Efter Mennesket, a book on the ethical aspects of human upgrade technologies.

Ethical dilemmas in GI, especially GI-monitoring of refugees
KlavsBirkholm.dk