[CODATA-international] Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism affecting Indigeneous communities

Fraser Taylor FraserTaylor at Cunet.Carleton.Ca
Mon Jul 27 16:52:23 EDT 2020

Good Afternoon Falk,
I think that you make a very important point.

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From: CODATA-international <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org> on behalf of Falk Huettmann <fhuettmann at alaska.edu>
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2020 4:39:52 PM
To: Suchith Anand <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>
Cc: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org>
Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism affecting Indigeneous communities

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re. indigenous people,
the last thing that should probably happen here is that a few white and privileged people and institutions claim to speak for those indigenous communities.
I propose these communities would articulate their own policies and express them, and/or be given a forum to do so.
It's the latter though that was often missing, and contributes to the problems we see.

It should probably also be stated that there is likely not just one singular voice and opinion on indigenous issues by indeginous people,
even if it pertains the same subject matter and location/village.

Same applies to anthropologists and social scientists often involved there.

The understanding of a democratic process differs a lot, and when elders and families play a major role.

Thanks for bringing this up.

No offense, but it is also my view and experience that the EU, big NGO and traditional science perspective is often 100% off on those issues,
just due to the bad history, colonies, persistent neo-colonialism and the reality of no indigenous people and voices
left there. It makes it hard to have a truly meaningful communication and understanding with those purely
industry-driven nations, leaders and representatives on those matters and when their power is to be shared.

More to be said but please keep us informed.

Just my perspective and opinion/reply on Suchith's question..

Thanks, very best
   Falk Huettmann  PhD, Professor
     Uni of Alaska Fairbanks

On Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 4:59 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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