[OSGeo-Discuss] [Geo4All] Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism affecting Indigeneous communities

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Mon Jul 27 04:53:32 PDT 2020

Hi Pyrou,

Thank you for sharing these very useful resources. This is very helpful for me to learn more on this topic.  I will read the books and links that you kindly shared.  I will then email you to discuss more on the article and to get your inputs.  I will greatly appreciate your expertise and inputs for the article.

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Indigenous Peoples’ Community of Practice might also be of interest. The GEO Indigenous Peoples’ Community of Practice  promotes knowledge sharing to improve Indigenous peoples’ access and inclusion in the development of geospatial tools for sustainable natural resource management.  Details at https://geoipcop.org<https://geoipcop.org/>

I have also now joined the RDA Indigenous data sovereignty WG so I can learn more. Thanks.

Best wishes,


From: Pyrou Chung <pchung at ewmi-odi.org>
Sent: 27 July 2020 10:14
To: Suchith Anand <ezasa7 at exmail.nottingham.ac.uk>
Cc: geoforall at lists.osgeo.org <geoforall at lists.osgeo.org>; OSGeo Discussions <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>; Carroll, Stephanie Russo - (stephaniecarroll) <stephaniecarroll at arizona.edu>; Maui Hudson <maui.hudson at waikato.ac.nz>
Subject: Re: [Geo4All] Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism affecting Indigeneous communities

Hi Suchith,

I think you should start by connecting with the Global Indigenous Data Alliance which lists some resources for reference. They published the CARE principles<https://www.gida-global.org/care> which outline some ethical principles about safeguarding Indigenous data. A couple of books: 1. Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Towards an Agenda<https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d3799de845604000199cd24/t/5d6f8aae27641800017a9473/1567591089094/Indigenous+Data+Sovereignty+Book.pdf> and 2. Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability.

There's also an IDSolv RDA group: https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/international-indigenous-data-sovereignty-ig

There is a real conflict with Digital Feudalism and Indigenous peoples concepts of land and territory. I've battled with this within our work in the Mekong region and it's challenging to find a middle ground. Please touch base to discuss this further if you would like, I'd be interested to learn more about the approach you intend to take with the article.


On Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 3:59 AM Suchith Anand <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk<mailto:Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

I am working on an article for EthicalGEO [1] on Ethics of Digital Feudalism in Location Data  .There are many ethical questions  that arise when  Digital Feudalism, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Location Data  intersect [2].  Details at


I came across an article on Indigenous Data Sovereignty at


I am interested  to learn more on Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism  affecting Indigeneous communities.  There are approximately 476 million Indigenous Peoples worldwide, in over 90 countries. Although they make up over 6 percent of the global population, they account for about 15 percent of the extreme poor. They safeguard 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. The land on which they live and the natural resources on which they depend are inextricably linked to their identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being. I respect the kindness, resilience, dignity and strength of indigenous peoples around the world.

As Indigeneous communities play a key role as guardians of forests and biodiversity , are there any studies or any articles on the impact of AI based GIS/location platforms for Indigeneous communities?

As some big GIS cloud platform companies/vendors also have verticals in the mining industry, oil & gas  etc, are there any ethical guidelines so that AI tools and insights developed in forest monitoring, conservation, biodiversity projects by AI based platforms are not used by the platform vendors for mining projects  in forests in the future?

How will Digital Feudalism affect the economically poor? Are there any ethical guidelines to protect the rights of Indigeneous communities?   Are there any studies or any articles on the impact of AI based GIS/location platforms for Indigeneous communities? If so, please email me the publication details by 10th August 2020  so I can learn more and reference them in my article. Thanks.

Best wishes,


[1] https://ethicalgeo.org

[2] https://www.godan.info/news/ethical-dimensions-digital-feudalism-agriculture

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Pyrou Chung
Open Development Initiative
East West Management Institute

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