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

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Tue Jul 28 04:19:44 EDT 2020

Hi Tracey,

Thank you for your feedback and inputs. Greatly appreciated.  I do not have any knowledge or expertise in Indigenous Data Sovereignty topics.  As I came across an article on Indigenous Data Sovereignty , I was interested to learn more .

I also thank Mark, Falk for sharing their inputs. I fully agree that it is Indigenous people who need to lead on efforts on Indigenous Control of Indigenous Data. I now understand  that there  is long standing work in this area. So the article that I am planning to write on  Digital Feudalism in Location Data is not going to look into Indigenous Data.

Thanks Mark for the link to CARE Principles and Global Indigenous  Data Alliance (https://www.gida-global.org)

I think it is  organisations like Global Indigenous  Data Alliance that need to look into these topics and share their expertise.

I came across some excellent resources

 Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Towards an Agenda<https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d3799de845604000199cd24/t/5d6f8aae27641800017a9473/1567591089094/Indigenous+Data+Sovereignty+Book.pdf>


Thanks to Pyrou Chung for sharing these resources and ideas with the GeoForAll community at https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geoforall/2020-July/005726.html

I hope to learn more as I am new to this topic. I joined the  Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Indigenous Peoples’ Community of Practice to learn more on the Earth Observations (EO) data  aspects of this and  to help me understand the best practices that need to be followed . Details at https://geoipcop.org

Best wishes,


From: Tracey P. Lauriault <tlauriau at gmail.com>
Sent: 28 July 2020 02:45
To: Suchith Anand <ezasa7 at exmail.nottingham.ac.uk>
Cc: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org>
Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Ethical issues of Digital Feudalism affecting Indigeneous communities


Your intentions are good, but feudalism and colonialism are not the same thing, and they do not play out the same way across different states, nor within them.  Indigenous peoples in Canada, First Nations, Metis and Inuit have their own systems of data sovereignty and there are many others, Prof. Taylor for one, who have been doing post colonial cartography, counter cartography and building infrastructure, there is also much data reclamation and a shift in classification systems and so on.

I might suggest that you defer to the long standing work in this space, also, "If about us then with us".  If you are to engage in this work, then you must work with Indigenous peoples and not engage in this work on people's behalf.


On Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 8:59 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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Tracey P. Lauriault

Assistant Professor, Critical Media and Big Data
Communication and Media Studies
School of Journalism and Communication
Carleton University
1-613-520-2600 x7443
Tracey.Lauriault at Carleton.ca
Skype: Tracey.P.Lauriault

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