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a Transdisciplinary approach to the

Emerging CHallenges of NOvel technologies:


Lifeworld and Imaginaries in Foresight and Ethics
(TECHNOLIFE)
A project funded by the European Union
under the Seventh Framework Programme

Capacities Work Programme: Part 5 – Science in Society


Call: FP7-SCIENCE IN-SOCIETY-2008-1
Topic: SiS-2008-1.1.2.1 Ethics and new and emerging fields of science and
technology
Project N° 230381

TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2:


Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
Verrax, F. 1, Lekaviciute, J. 2, Gadal, S 3. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 4
REEDS Lab. (Ex IACA-C3ED) – Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

1 PhD candidate, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ),


2 Post-doctoral research fellow, Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD),
3 Associate professor, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ),
4 Professor, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ).
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 2

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 3
The rapidly expanding polymorphic nature of GIS............................................................ 5
GIS as an ICT ? ............................................................................................................... 9
A GIS-specific element that will be not addressed by Technolife: potential consequences
of making spatial attributes explicit and publicly available .............................................. 11
GIS specificities of relevance to TECHNOLIFE .............................................................. 14
High resolution image, information locus, privacy and scale ....................................... 14
Dual, military and civil, nature of spatial information ................................................... 15
Cultural dominance versus the diversity of the representation of space ..................... 16
Cited references............................................................................................................. 18
Appendix 1: Selected annotated bibliography on the ethical dimensions of GIS ............ 19
Appendix 2: Selected annotated bibliography on the ethical dimensions of ICTs ........... 59
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 3

Introduction

Geographic Information Systems are, through their particular treatment of geographic, geo-referenced
and spatial information, having the potential of impact deeply the way space and place are being
experienced. As written in TECHNOLIFE’s DOW:

“The use of large databases to construct maps is being deployed for the sake of
environmental and urban planning, natural resource management, epidemiological analyses
and the tracing of socioeconomic fluctuations. From the outset a tool for science-based
assessments and anticipatory action in environmental management, GIS has been promoted
as a critically capacities enhancing tool in terms of more efficient data handling, better
geographical representation and analytical power, provision of better bases for decision-
making as well as improved communication and visualisation of spatial data.
[…] the exclusive emphasis on GIS as a tool of technical decision making has been
questioned and, in many cases, been replaced by models of interaction and participation that
promise to include local communities and citizens in the scientific process itself.
[…] At the same time it must also be noted how, since 1999, high resolution images have
become more widely available through progress in remote sensing technology. This is leading
to a situation where the maps that are produced open up the potential for object-based
analyses (as opposed to cluster based analyses), thus leading to the possibility of a high
resolution analysis of human activity (*Gadal 2008). This type of analysis generates new
ethical issues associated with the potential linkages between the monitoring of individual
action and political control. These ethical issues may be compounded by the conceptual
difficulties of multi-scale analysis which may lead to a poor articulation of collective objectives
and individual needs with the sacrifice of the latter for the sake of the former.”
In the course of this scoping paper our goal was to see how the use of Geographic Information Science
may be framed as a technology:

1. in which constitutive imaginaries of both local and expert communities are negotiated,
transformed and created;
2. through which the ethics of place and belonging intertwine with expert notions of
geographical space in new and unexpected ways;
3. For which the successful implementation largely depends on its being embedded within local
cultural and environmental conditions in ways that acknowledges the social shaping of any
technological system.
A key challenge in the course of this scoping paper lies into the identification of GIS specificities and the
translation of these specificities into challenges and issues that raise ethical questions. In order to
achieve this exercise we begin by presenting GIS and its evolution in terms of “issue-raising
technology”. We then carry-on by explicitly identifying the ICT nature of GIS and the ethical challenges
of ICT that could be applied to the analysis of GIS but that will not be part of our approach within
TECHNOLIFE. The next section will briefly deal with issues associated with the explicitation of spatial
attributes through mapping. We will thereafter present the four dimensions that will be the focus of
TECHNOLIFE’s GIS research line:
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
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1. starting from the increase in resolution of remote sensing imagery, furthering the analysis of the
connections between the nature of information place, privacy, scale and resolution;

2. starting from the dual, military and civil, nature of GIS, furthering the analysis of the concepts of
place and belonging in the light of the projected dual nature of spatial information;

3. commoditization of the place where one is, through one flows where one belong;

4. Cultural dominance within the GIS sphere and its challenge as a curtailer of the potential
diversity of the representation of space.
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The rapidly expanding polymorphic nature of GIS

The issues associated with the development of GIS and the ethical dimensions of its use may be
approached through several entry point each leading to specific set of concerns. Every user, every GIS
area of applications or domain of development has its own definition about what a geographic
information system is. It is almost impossible to give a single definition of GIS without describing the
design, function, processing, data inputs and the outputs such as maps, images, statistics, hypertexts,
modeling. The polymorphic nature of GIS has as a direct consequence the fact that people are not
aware of the presence of GIS, in all its form, in their daily lives. Furthermore, three different
communities contribute to progresses in GIS: geographers, computer scientists, and information
technologies developer/manager.

Ethical issues associated with GIS will thus be associated with a specific community and with a specific
dimension of the technological package that is associated; this may raise simultaneously a multiplicity of
ethical dimension and a multiplicity of pathways in order to address the ethical challenges at hand.

Figure 1: GIS definition as a part of information system ( Lo and Yeung , 2008)

Not only is GIS inherently polymorphic, GIS is evolving rapidly, raising potentially constantly new ethical
issues. While the technological conceptual foundations and functions of geographic information systems
did not change much since the end of the 1980’s, progresses in information technologies and especially
Internet has changed the GIS architectures, open new communities of users, new applications and new
ethical dimensions.

Until the middle of the 1990’s with the generalization of Internet networks, GIS were closely associated
to the computer hosting the database and data treatment software, all limited by the computing power of
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
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the host machine. The GIS architecture and design depended of the computer processing power. The
introduction of screen colors and personal desktop computer machines allowed the development of
cartographic visualization techniques and images, the PC, the dissemination of GIS computers to
workstations (1980, 1990's) then went through a wide dissemination PC in the late 1990s and early
2000s. The computing power and visualization became acceptable to work on personal computers.
During theses decades, the central ethic question is focused on the data accuracy, data quality, and the
questions of “technical ethics”. This problematic is coming back with the diffusions and the production of
real 3D geo-visualization of urban landscapes. This technical ethic is strongly linked with the concept in
geomatic of geographic information sciences. During all this period the question of geo-data, data
processing took a lot of attention.

Figure 2 the “Technical ethics” period (Image source: Esri, 2009)

The introduction of information technologies of communication and information with the Internet
networks and the strong increase in calculus power and data storages of desktop personal computers
has changed the focus of the GIS developments and the ethical questions associated. The main
problematic concerned and still concerns the ethical questions related to the open geo-data access for
political institutions, professionals and civil society. The problematic of geographic information and geo-
data as a knowledge object of strategic power moved with the transformation of US power politics. The
geographic information must be open, free and easily available for consolidating and strengthening the
informational dominance, economic and strategic of the United States of America. The emergence of
free GIS global system based on remote sensing and satellite images as for example Google Earth
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changed totally the strategic and economic games. Every part of the Earth, of the geographic space is
today geo-visualisable. Every geographic object is geo-referenced and everybody on the Web or the
3G+ can look it.

Figure 3 : current GIS « complexity » Image source: Esri, 2009.

The Information technologie open geo-data access ethical question, still little studied, is moving quickly
toward new ethical questions with the increase of the Mobil nomad systems. The emergence of nomad
GIS at the end of the 2000’s decade and the real 3D geo-visualisation of urban territories transform the
ethical GIS problematic. Every 3G+ mobile system is a GIS system “working” in time geo-localization by
the GRSS mobile network. Everybody is geo- traceable on real time. The individual geo-traceability is
one of ethical issues in GIS, the “real time geo-location” of individuals and geographic objects. If the GIS
root doesn’t change, information technologies of communication and information have transformed the
ethical problematic. The GIS ethic of the end of the 2009 could be definite around the free online access
to major geographic information databases (under the full global US leadership control, European Union
partial and dispersed response), the free online access to very high resolution imagery (meters,
centimetres spatial resolutions), the 2/3D and 3D geo-visualisation, the Interactive mobiles and nomad
systems, the access to the temporal updating and the increasing of the Interactive personal geographic
information enrichment (“Global Geo-Wiki”).
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
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Figure 4: Evolution of GIS and associated issues in a nutshell.

The GIS ethical problematic in the technolife scope paradigm can be cut in three parts for analysis the
technological consequences of GIS inside the society, the territory and the lifestyle. The GIS technical
oriented paradigm focused on geographic information, the GIS geo-localization individual and object
traceability, and the GIS ability to develop intelligence and geographical territorial autonomy and / or
collective knowledge, support values and political ideas.
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GIS as an ICT ?

With the development of computers and information technologies in the 1980’s, a new field of applied
ethics emerged, so-called Information Ethics. Mainly led by philosophers, it has its own peer-reviewed
academic journal, Ethics and Information Technology, published by Springer.

The ICT nature of GIS means that exploring ICTs and some of the ethical framework that has been
proposed for ICTs may help in clarifying the specificity of GIS and identify what should not belong in te
GIS line of TECHNOLIFE.

Despite this academic existence, there are still debates and disagreements about what is the central
question of Information Ethics. According to Luciano Floridi, one of the major thinkers in the field, the
most important question in Information Ethics would be “What is good for an information entity and the
infosphere in general1?” (Floridi & Sanders, 2002) whereas (Cappuro, 2006) focuses on the human
being who uses this infosphere, and then affirms that the central question of Information Ethics is “What
is good for our bodily being-in-the-world with others in particular?”.

That’s for the questions – no wonder then why the answers are so diverse. The issues spoken about in
the frame of Information Ethics go from the traditional PAPA (Privacy, Accuracy, Property, Accessibility)
to more original concerns like, for instance, the Tragedy of the Good Will (Floridi, 2006). Basically, the
tragic condition of a modern moral agent using Information Technologies comes from a lack of balance
between information and power, in the presence of eudokia (the moral agent wants to do the good
thing), which is represented among others by the antique figure of Cassandra. And indeed, the case of
GIS practitioner can somehow be seen as very similar to the one of Cassandra: imagine for instance a
GIS practitioner who has all the relevant data about AIDS in Africa, who knows exactly where are the
sources of epidemic, and can foresee how the disease will evolve, but cannot do much about it, if not
anything, and still would like to. That is what the Tragedy of the Good Will is.

So one can easily imagine that the same diversity of both questions and answers are relevant within the
field of GIS Ethics. And a first useful step, above all when considering that GIS Ethics is mainly made
by GIS practitioners with little knowledge of philosophical concepts developed by Information Ethics, is
then to use the progresses made by professional ethicists within the field of Information Ethics to
address ethical issues raised by GIS development and use. But if the tools and concepts developed in

1 As we will argue later this question, with focus on georeferenced information, can be seen as the key question that the GIS
line of TECHNOLIFE will try to address.
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
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Information Ethics are indeed useful to think about the ethical issues of GIS, one should not forget that
GIS contains a special feature regarding to Information Technologies, which is the use of geo-
referenced data. This involvement of spatial data makes the issues of privacy and accessibility, for
instance, even more significant, and may also generate new ethical issues. That is why GIS Ethics
cannot be reduced to Information Ethics, and why new tools and concepts must be developed.

As an illustration, the process of address matching, even if possible before GIS, used to take such a
long time and be so little accurate due to human mistakes, that many local governments had given up
the very idea. With GIS, it has become so quick and easy than any city can use it, for better, or for
worse (for more detailed case studies and analysis, see (O'Looney, 2000)). So new ethical issues arise
from this use of GIS: when is it appropriate for local government policy makers to weigh a citizen’s
geographic situation, and when decisions should be geographically neutral? How will the knowledge
that their addresses will be geo-coded will affect the willingness of citizens to petition public policy
makers on local government issues?

These are some of the new ethical issues made more relevant, if not created, by the development of
GIS, especially in a political context. GIS seems to have started to give its own answers, through the
emerging fields of PPGIS (Public Participation Geographic Information Systems), which intends to make
sure everyone participates and has access to the spatial information she is concerned about, or, on a
more meta-theoretical level, Critical GIS. But there is still a long way to go before every ethical issue
raised by GIS is addressed properly.

Finally and we will conclude this section here, while there is a fairly high probability that GIS related
issues may be partially addressed through progresses in ICT ethics, the specifity of the spatial nature of
GIS risks very well not being addressed. The purpose of the GIS line within TECHNOLIFE will therefore
focus on the questions related to space and place which are described in the following section.
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A GIS-specific element that will be not addressed by Technolife: potential


consequences of making spatial attributes explicit and publicly available

Over the past two decades, there is an increasing concern in public debate about environmental risks,
as them consequences to human health and living environment. In recent years, the situation has
become more serious as the geographical and social impacts of some environmental changes have
reached global significance e.g. global warming, and the society, influenced by media and especial
governments’ attention to environmental problems, is very concerned about increasing risks on them
health. As nowadays a lot of personal information is spatialized geographically and even geocoded in
the individual level, it can be accessed to numerous users that create more concerns to the society on
ethical privacy and confidentiality questions.

It is important to understand how people perceive and evaluate those risks. Böhm and Pfister (2000)
distinguish two judgmental aspects of risk evaluation: evaluation of consequences and ethical
considerations. Ethical evaluation is called deontological evaluation, which refers to the judgment
whether the risk violates any ethical principles. Ethical considerations have been largely neglected in
risk perception research (Sjöberg, 1995), although there is some evidence that they play a crucial part
in risk evaluation. Ethical values seem especially relevant when evaluating environmental risks.

In the research, presented by Böhm (2003), emotional reactions to environmental risks were
investigated. Four types of emotion are distinguished: prospective (e.g. fear) and retrospective (e.g.
sadness) consequence-based emotions, and other-related (e.g. anger) and self-related (e.g. guilt)
ethics-based emotions. For each environmental risk, participants (a) rated the intensity of several
consequence- and ethics-based emotions and (b) gave judgments pertaining to their evaluation of the
causes and consequences of the risk as well as to its morality. There were twenty analyzed risks: sea-
level rise, population density, (e.g. crowding, population explosion), water shortage (e.g. drought, water
depletion), clear cutting of rain forest, pesticides and herbicides, pollution from waste dumps and
incinerators, storms and bad weather (e.g. thunder storms, hurricanes, storm tides, floods), species
extinction, consumption of fossil energy, earthquakes, radioactive contamination, air pollution from cars,
chemical dumps, impure drinking water, air pollution from industry, acid rain, hole in the ozone layer,
water pollution, volcano eruptions, and forest fires.

Link to GIS lecture uses for environmental risks Gadal S., 2007

http://www.uved.fr/fileadmin/user_upload/modules_introductifs/module3/risques/3.2/html/1.html
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The analysis results show that the most intense feelings are worry and fear, i.e. consequence based
emotions that are elicited by the anticipation of negative events. The second most intense emotions are
other-related ethics-based emotions (e.g. anger, outrage), closely followed and partly interspersed with
retrospective consequence-based emotions (e.g. regret, hopelessness, sadness). The least intense
emotions are self-related ethics-based emotions (guilt and shame) and hope. Clear cutting of rain forest,
chemical dumps and radioactive contamination arouse the most intense emotions, whereas the least
emotions are elicited by volcano eruptions.

Epidemiological data creates more concern for the public, as threat to individual privacy, as very often
they are geocoded. In many countries concerns include how new geospatial technologies may be used
regarding to people privacy. Additional privacy concerns arise as a consequence of being able to
accurately represent the location of individuals using geocoding and GPS, as well as the ability to link
disparate data sources. Geographic identifiers support such linkages because data are easily combined
when common identifiers such as names, social security numbers, phone numbers, or driver license
numbers or home or work addresses are present in different databases. This is true of health records as
well as many other data sources.

Example of geocoded invidual epidemiological data in Kaunas city, Lithuania in interaction with traffic
noise (Lekaviciute, 2007)
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When data are integrated from various sources, the widespread availability of GIS software has led to
the common practice of creating maps of the results. For example, a point map of cancer incidences
can be created in much the same way as Snow’s famous “Cholera Map.” If such maps accurately depict
locations, they can be used to recover individual-level information such as an address.

According to NRC report (2007), recent advances in the availability of social-spatial data and the
development of GIS and related techniques to manage and analyze those data give researches
important new ways to study important social, environmental, economic, and health policy issues and
are worth further development. The increasing use of linked social-spatial data has created significant
uncertainties about the ability to protect the confidentiality promised to research participants. Recent
researches on technical approaches for reducing the risk of identification and breach of confidentiality
has demonstrated promise for the future. As technical strategies will not be sufficient in the foreseeable
future for resolving the conflicting demands for data access, data quality and confidentiality, institutional
approaches will be required to balance those demands.

Taken in the aggregate over many people, long-term large-scale population studies allow the discovery
of statistical correlations between environmental factors and diseases and are also used to help assess
the efficacy of treatments, to determine the overall costs to particular kinds of treatment regimes, and to
conduct epidemiological research that can generate insight into the genesis, development, and spread
of disease (Waldo et al., 2007).

It is a big contradiction between society’s concern about use of these personal data, and at the same
time - the people want to know more and more exactly about environmental pollution consequences on
them health, even in individual level. What is more important to protect your personal data or to know
more about the real situation of your living environment? Here appears the conflict of values, which
could be response by everybody. Philosophers, scientists will choose the values, which maybe will not
correspond with values chosen by biggest part of society’s members.
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GIS specificities of relevance to TECHNOLIFE

High resolution image, information locus, privacy and scale

The question of the high resolution images, information locus, privacy environment and scales can be
explored through the analysis of the free GIS as Google Earth. The question of the high resolution
images, information locus, privacy environment and scales is not the existence and the uses, but the
free diffusion in the civil society and for the economical geo-business associated at the spatial
geographic information, mostly produced from satellite imageries or airborne sensors.

The introduction of technologies for Earth observations, airborne, space, and computing in the late
1960s, then use the space geodesy and systems geographic information (GIS) have revolutionized the
representation of geographic space. In geomatic, Google Earth is not a real novelty. The GIS design
architecture is not innovative; the free geo-visualizing system and geographic data access covered all
the surface of the Earth, are the innovative conceptual idea. The question should be raised with the
existence of satellite products representation of the entire surface of the Earth are in sales or available
free on the internet like World Wind (NASA). The search for representation or rather exhaustive display
of the Earth's surface is not something new: products such as Microsoft Encarta offer in one another
since 1998 representation of day and night the whole surface of the Earth using images remote sensing
from meteorological satellites North American Day of the NOAA series (National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration) and nighttime DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program). The
areas covered by the two satellite images, mosaics allows a exhaustive geo-visualization of the Earth,
but at levels of spatial resolutions kilometers, making it difficult for the public viewing of it house or his
district, something most commonly sought by the people. A product like Terra Cognita gives full
coverage of the earth's surface with a spatial resolution of 30x30 meters on the basis of a mosaic of
7000 satellite images multi-spectral Landsat 5 TM / Landsat 7 ETM+ (http://www.planetobserver.com/ ).

Each of these both products are integrated or associated with encyclopedias’, a mapping
theme (demography, urbanization, climate, states, etc.) and pseudo-topographic maps at of statistical
databases, articles, etc. as many elements as Google Earth or World Wind does not.

These "meta geographic information viewers" and geographic databases are freely accessible to the
both support a better understanding and analysis of geographic space and its dynamic, a collective
awareness of our living geographic environment; used for both planning and land management,
monitoring of natural hazards, navigation and military purposes. A dissemination of geographic
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information, too long confined to military areas of power and decision politic precludes the notion of free
access to geographic information with Google Earth and World Wind are the bullies.

They allow everyone to have a new look, a new representation of the World, on land, on our living
environment daily, both locally and globally. Google Earth for example, it is characterized rather by a
logic representation of the Earth based on coverage of the surface space multi-level and multi-scale.
The coverage of terrestrial space is homogeneous with scales of global, metric and centimetric
representation of the Earth. Coverage includes the Globe several types of satellite remote sensing
images at different spatial resolutions: coverage Global Earth is provided by the base Earth Sat Natural
View product from satellites series Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM + (30x30 and 25x25 m). The
visualization of the earth's surface of higher resolution, or submeter metric is discontinuous, often
fragmented as in the Baltic countries. The QuickBird satellite data from the database Digital Globe's City
Sphere allowing visualization of metric and sub-meter geographic space is pay and only covers certain
areas. In contrast to territories as a region of Marseille (Southern France) and Stockholm (Sweden) we
can see the geographical environment at spatial resolutions of one meter or tens-of-inches (61 cm) from
the base supplied by TeleAtlas. On these areas are also associated databases images, map (VMAP)
and topographic (detd) of the NGA (National Geospace Agency). The functions and GIS (Geographic
Information System) provided by Google Earth are optimized for travelers and tourism: airports,
railways, hotels, bars, pharmacies, Banks, notable sights such as Tower Effeil, etc. They are however,
depending on where fragmented, incomplete or nonexistent. The Google search function associated
with major cities can solve this problem and get a number of information days as the site of the tourist
office, hotels, airports, etc.. The level of precision databases is up on areas such as Marseilles or Aix-
en-Provence, for example limited highways and waterways inthe Baltic countries with levels of
significant errors can be ten to one hundred meters. The heterogeneity of the spatial coverage and
mapping the surface of the Earth is one of the weaknesses of Google Earth, as its commercial
orientation. If this tools a great success, the obsolescence of certain data may to be quickly raised. In
many areas, particularly in Asia and Africa are levels of very rapid changes.

Dual, military and civil, nature of spatial information

The themes of Dual, military and civil, nature of spatial information emerged after the end of the Second
Persian Gulf War in a 1993. It is related to the Revolution in Military Affairs. The RMA stems directly
from taking conscience of the military superiority what made the information systems space as the
satellite optical and radar observation of the Earth meteorological, geodetic and communications which
were coupled together to systems management information giving a complete view of battlefield real
time. This awareness of the tactical and strategic superiority that commoditization of locus and space
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provide spatial information, geographic and infrastructure communication quickly given way to a new
strategic paradigm: the RMA or war information, knowledge and acquisition management resources and
crisis prevention. The acquisition means, the tactical modality, is that of obtaining real-time spatial
information and geographic coupled with positioning systems and navigation for example, precise
strikes very long distance and know the geographic context of intervention forces and to follow in real
time. Information dominance is that of maintaining absolute of information superiority through control of
its acquisition, its operations, transmission and distribution. It becomes the object of strategic
superiority. Obtain relevant information; prevent the enemy from acquiring the means now that it enters
the chain of decision of the enemy and that there participle. Policy of the United States in this area is
unambiguous: "[...] and future systems to protect against corrupt and deploy information via common
carrier globally distributed information systems, false-flag (commercial product), or third-party (coalition
partners) systems " (Stein, 1996). The establishment of such a policy at the global concerns not
only the military but the entire civil society. It raises a number of questions relating to the protection of
individuals by means of geographic information. How to clear the policy information dominance of the
United States in the field of information geo-localization? What is the strategic value of geographic
information?

In this strategic framework, control and monitoring of geographic information are an issue of growing
economic, military and political challenge. It is the first for military: digitizing the battlefield is a key to the
success and preparation of police action or war. It allows the simulation, monitoring commitment and
development of new scenarios in real time. It is equally for developers or political decision making. It
reveals a fundamental importance in that it gives a representation of reality. The value of representation
that affects or determines in many cases an interpretation, a choice rather than another. It is difficult to
determine the value real economic and strategic geographical information. Production costs and
distribution are, firstly, often poorly understood or not controlled, and secondly, the expected benefits of
geographic information are often perceived as distant, although the benefit of its use it is very real, even
unavoidable. This apparent contradiction is probably due to three aspects: its scarcity, its prices and its
near constant mismatch.

Cultural dominance versus the diversity of the representation of space

The increasing use of civilian technologies, especially in the field of information technology, gradually is
leading the military to integrate the "civilian" in the broadest sense in the process of military action.
Similarly, the use of military information networks and the logistics can lead to civil
a new configuration of power and control of the company. Military put into effect more action towards
civil society, government policy and by economic violence but "ideally" with control, interference, the
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blocking of information networks and civilian logistics and processing of and chain of command mode.
The RMA, even if it is based on a description of "real" world through observation satellite, refer to
representations of geographic space by Western concepts it supports and uses: globalization, trans-
localization, metropolization, information, and civilianization. It uses concepts marked by the character
of "transformation" of "dynamic", "evolution", "change" and "period times" that summarize fairly well the
current Western strategic thinking: the "truth" is in action, in the change for which all knowledge is
provisional. The strategically GI monitoring system must, therefore, evolve a process of ongoing
adaptive reform that is marked both by the refusal of direct involvement, extension of the ideals and
American standards to the entire global system to promote intra-regional and the more specific, the U.S.
and Western investors.
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 18

Cited references

Böhm G.,Pfister H.R. (2000). Action tendencies and characteristics of environmental risks. Acta
Psychologica, 104, 317–337.

Capurro, R. (2006). Towards an ontological foundation of information ethics. Ethics and Information Technology ,
8 (4), 175-186.
ESRI (2009). http://www.esri.com.

Floridi, L. (2006). Information technologies and the tragedy of Good Will. (Springer, Ed.) Ethics and Information
Technology , 8, 253-262.
Floridi, L., & SANDERS, J. (2002). Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics. Ethics and Information
Technology , 4, 1-9.
Lekavicute J. (2007). Traffic noise in Kaunas city and its influence on myocardial infarction risk, Kaunas:
VD University Press.

Lo C. P., Yeung A. K. W. (2008). Concepts and techniques of geographic information systems, New
Delhi: Eastern economy edition.

National Research Council (2007). Putting people on the map: protecting confidentiality with linked
social-spatial data. Panel of confidentiality issues arising from the integration of remotely sensed and
self-identifying data. M.P.Gutmann and P.C.Stern, Eds. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies
Press.

O'Looney, J. (2000). Ethical and Legal Issues. Dans Beyond Maps: GIS and Decision Making in Local
Government (pp. 165-188). Redlands: ESRI Press.
Sjöberg L. (1995). How cognitive is risk perception? A discussion of the psychometric and cultural
theory approaches. Paper presented at the 4th European congress of psychology, Athens, July 2–7,
1995.

Stein J. G. (1996). « Information attack : information warfare in 2025 ». Government


Printing Office, Washington.

Waldo J., Lin H.S., Millett L.I. (2007). Engaging privacy and information technology in a digital age.
National research Council, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 19

Appendix 1: Selected annotated bibliography on the ethical dimensions of GIS


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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 20

IACA Documentary Materials – Fonds Documentaire IACA:


The purpose of IACA’s Documentary Materials is to share documentary sources that are produced in the course of
IACA’s project. Their purpose does not call for comprehensiveness, but call for rigor and permanent updating. The
annotation/summary should not be misconstrued as alternatives to the reading of the material that is presented. These
annotations/summaries should serve as an encouragement to read part of the source material that is presented.
As these literature reviews are “work in progress” they must always be considered as draft versions.

Fanny Verrax, PhD candidate, is a member of the IACA team within the Centre d’Economie et d’Ethique
pour l’Environnement e le Développement.

Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, Professor of Economics, is a member of the IACA team within the Centre
d’économie et d’éthique pour l’Environnement e le Développement.
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Contents
General introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 22
An early debate and mapping................................................................................................................................ 23
CURRY, M. R. (1995). Geographic Information Systems and the Inevitability of Ethical Inconsistency. In J.
PICKLES, Ground Truth. The Social Implication of Geographic Information Systems (pp. 68-87). New York:
Guilford. ............................................................................................................................................................ 23
CHRISMAN, N. (2006). Full circle: More than just social implications of GIS. Cartographica , 40 (4), 23-35. .. 26
Ethical Issues at stake ........................................................................................................................................... 29
O'LOONEY, J. (2000). Ethical and Legal Issues. In Beyond Maps: GIS and Decision Making in Local
Government (pp. 165-188). Redlands: ESRI Press. ......................................................................................... 29
SUI, D. (2008). The wikification of GIS and its consequences: Or Angelina Jolie’s new tattoo and the future of
GIS. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems , 32, 1-5............................................................................ 31
ROTH, R. E. (2007). The use of remotely sensed imagery and GIS analysis for the automated detection of
water infiltration in residential structures. Middle States Geographer , 123-132. .............................................. 32
Specificities of PPGIS............................................................................................................................................ 33
LAITURI, M. (2003). The Issue of Access: An Assessment Guide for Evaluating Public Participation
Geographic Information Science Case Studies. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems
Association, URISA Special Issue , 15 (2), 25-32. ............................................................................................ 33
SIEBER, R. (2006). Public participation geographic information systems: A literature review and framework.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 96, 491–507. ................................................................ 36
GHOSE, R., & ELWOOD, S. (2003). Public Participation GIS and Local Political Context: Propositions and
Research Directions. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, URISA Special
Issue , 15 (2), 17-24. ......................................................................................................................................... 39
The Unclassifiable Counter-Example .................................................................................................................... 42
KAZDA, M. J., ROSSMANN BEEL, E., VILLEGAS, D., GOOD MARTINEZ, J., PATEL, N., & MIGALA, W.
(2009). Methodological Complexities and the Use of GIS in Conducting a Community Needs Assessment of a
Large U.S. Municipality. Journal of Community Health , 34 (3), 210-215.......................................................... 42
Professional Ethics: the right solution? .................................................................................................................. 44
HAQUE, A. (2003). Information technology, GIS and democratic values: Ethical implications for IT
professionals in public service. Ethics and Information Technology , 5 (1), 39-48. ........................................... 44
BLAKEMORE, M., & LONGHORN, R. A. (2004, July). Identifying ethical and unethical activities in GIS. GIS
Development . ................................................................................................................................................... 46
CRAIG, W. J. (2004, July). GIS Ethics: Understanding implications of action. GIS Development ,
http://www.gisdevelopment.net/magazine/years/2004/july/14.asp. ................................................................... 47
STYBLINSKA, M. (2006). The GIS Ethics: the Code of Ethics for GIS Practitioners. Spread of the Knowledge
(online) (3), www.wiinom.us.edu.pl/.../196-spread-the-knowledge?...the-code-of-ethics-for-gis-practitioners. . 48
References ............................................................................................................................................................ 50
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General introduction

Along with nanotechnology and biotechnology, geotechnology, including Geographic Information


Systems (GIS), has been identified by the US Department of Labor as one of the three most important
emerging and evolving fields (GEWIN, 2004). GIS has been defined by (MONMONNIER, 2002) as “a
computerized system (naturally) for storing, retrieving, analyzing, and displaying geographic data”,
which is based on operations such as overlay analysis and buffering. The very first interrogations about
social and ethical implications of GIS are raised in (PICKLES, 1995). One chapter of this book is
specifically dedicated to ethical issues : (CURRY, 1995) argues ethical inconsistencies are inevitable in
the context of GIS, partly because technology has a kind of autonomy. We will review here his
arguments as well as (CHRISMAN, 2006)’s ones, who reexamines, ten years later, (PICKLES, 1995)’s
positions.

Ethical issues at stake within the GIS context are numerous. (O'LOONEY, 2000) can be read as a good
introduction to the issues of Access, Privacy, Cost Recovery, Equity, and Legal Liability. More
specifically about the privacy issue, one can read (SUI, 2008) and (ROTH, 2007). This last one is
particularly interesting because it considers that ethical issues are as important as technical aspects to
assess the feasibility of a project.
About the issue of access, (LAITURI, 2003) provides an assessment guide in the particular context of
Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS). For a literature review and framework of
PPGIS, one can see (SIEBER, 2006), whereas for more innovative propositions, one should read
(ELWOOD & GHOSE, 2004).
Finally, when one is fully convinced that ethical issues are everywhere anytime GIS are used, we have
wanted to provide one counter-example: (KAZDA, ROSSMANN BEEL, VILLEGAS, GOOD MARTINEZ,
PATEL, & MIGALA, 2009), the most recent paper we have reviewed, does not utter a word about any
ethical issue whereas at least the ones of privacy and access seem obvious to whom has read the
papers reviewed before. This wink should remind us that whatever say the ethicists, the first ones to
use, and potentially misuse GIS, are the GIS practitioners themselves.
Our last section is then dedicated to Professional Ethics, as an illustration of answers provided by GIS
practitioners to ethical issues. Not too far from PPGIS field, (HAQUE, 2003) wonders about democratic
values and calls for an ethics of Information Technology (IT) in public service. Another “solution” is
proposed in (BLAKEMORE & LONGHORN, Identifying ethical and unethical activities in GIS, 2004)
which is based on education and additional training in ethics for GIS practitioners. Finally, the most
“famous” Code of Ethics for GIS Professionals, the URISA Code of Ethics
(http://www.urisa.org/about/ethics), is discussed in (CRAIG, 2004) and (STYBLINSKA, 2006). Both
repeat the philosophical misconception existing in the URISA Code, which irrelevantly distinguishes
between Kantianism and Deontology, and does not quote consequentialism, when it appears it is the
only true philosophical basement of this Code. Hence the question: is Professional Ethics the right
solution? Shall we be satisfied with it, or is it legitimate and necessary to look further?
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An early debate and mapping

CURRY, M. R. (1995). Geographic Information Systems and the Inevitability of Ethical


Inconsistency. In J. PICKLES, Ground Truth. The Social Implication of Geographic Information
Systems (pp. 68-87). New York: Guilford.

Summary

“ (CURRY, 1995) produced a discourse on metaethics, arguing that GIS necessarily creates certain
conflicts between inherent principles. He admits that these ethical inconsistencies are well-recognized,
but he tries to argue that they become particularly concentrated in GIS. He describes technology as
autonomous, beyond human control due to its complexity. In concluding he offers the possible solution
that people seem to be able to mediate a set of overlapping social commitments and obligations without
incurring the consequences of the inconsistencies. This would certainly be the reading of the boundary
object literature, people manage to agree to differ. If Curry could disengage from his strong divisions
between technology and people, he might come to see that his ethical inconsistencies are just another
part of the complexities of a social world without a unifying philosophical stance.” (CHRISMAN, 2006)

Highlights

Four conclusions are made from an analysis of the relationship between GIS and ethical issues :
- The creation of maintenance of GIS involve ethical inconsistencies.
- These inconsistencies are not merely contingent features of current practice but necessary features of
the systems, built into them through the intersection of the technological and the social.
- This intersection is expressed in the creation of sets of patterns of practical knowledge, where the
explicit goals of one set may and actually do conflict with the implicit goals of another
- This shows the necessity of seeing GIS as constituted of sets of interlocking and overlapping
patterns of actions.
GIS in the vernacular view: the standards of responsibility – “due diligence”, “reasonable care”, etc. –
apply to GIS as to any work activity, especially in our societies in which people feel enjoined to do a
reasonable good work, that it to say, to act responsibly. So theses standards are not adequate account
of the ethical content of GIS; the true question is then: “What is it about GIS and its use that makes it
different both from work generally and from geography more specifically?”
Conceptual order in GIS: Three related conceptions of GIS would be largely accepted by its users: one
based on space (it is possible to locate objects in space ant it is often important to do so), one on
information (the basic aim of research is the amassing of information, vs the discovery of knowledge),
the last one on rationality (there is something called rationality, involving the use of well-defined sets of
rules, which can be adequately modeled.) Besides this three-dimensional approach of GIS, it is
important to note that there are several levels in GIS:
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Figure 1: Three levels of GIS

The important thing is that these different levels lead different assumptions which are in conflict, both
within and between levels.
Conflict and Strain: Conceptions of Morality and Agency in GIS: the nature of conflicts is at 2
levels. At the meta-ethical level, there’s a strain between emotivism and descriptivism. In the moral
theory, there’s another strain between teleology and delontology. “The strain here arises just because
there is a tendancy to hold both views at once.”

Heteronomy and Autonomy: the Expert, the Individual, and the Other: When one denies autonomy
to oneself, one is said to be heteronomous. Nowhere is this heteronomy more clear than in GIS,
where the notions of rationality, representation, universalism and especially technological development
lead one to see the choices that one makes as driven. This theme of autonomous technology extends
well beyond computers (WINNER, Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-control as a theme in
political thought, 1977). “In the case of GIS this leads to a kind of fatalism, where discussions about the
desirability of the development and use of the systems are seen as frivolous attempts to push back the
tide.” Technology also can lead to heteronomous behaviour because of its increasing complexity, which
has 2 mains effects: first, this means that technological systems have become “black boxes”, and it is
impossible to predict the results, hence teleogical value systems become impossible to apply (WINNER,
Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-control as a theme in political thought, 1977) (WINNER, The
Whale and the Reactor: A search or limits in an age of high technology, 1986). Second, complexity
leads to an increased division of labour, whom 2 primary expressions are specialization and expertise.
The development of Expertise: Except from (ILLICH, 1978) who argues that any form of expertise or of
division of labour leads inevitably to the denial of personal autonomy, and hence must be avoided, most
of us take it for granted that experts are needed, for several reasons. One of these is that for the
average person, the ability to operate a system is increasingly a matter of knowing how, and
decreasingly a matter of knowing that. A consequence of this is that this leads people to see themselves
as using technologies that are “autonomous”, which leads to the need of experts who are able to
understand the workings of those systems. A complicated factor though is that the experts become
expert at less and less.
The Notion of the “Other”: In the case of GIS, the availability of massive amounts of information leads to
the notion that having this information provides one with a better understanding of the world. It leads
experts to see those people to whom their data refer as “other”. This means that the “other” is
fundamentally thought of as an object, rather than as a person, and hence is fundamentally treated
unethically. Furthermore, because the availability of information is seen as fundamental for decision
making, those who have that information see themselves as empirically better able to make decisions,
which is fundamentally antidemocratic.
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On Surveillance and Privacy: the desire to use GIS for surveillance and the proliferation of national
databases as well as private systems can be seen as antidemocratic too. If “low-end” companies have
just lists of all the mailing addresses, “high-end” systems have much more information; “it is now
possible to make educated guess about any house-hold’s political and religious views, as well as its
shopping preferences”. But “what is perhaps most disturbing about this surveillance system – beyond
the fact that it is largely unregulated – is that it presumes a notion of closure, a view wherein there is a
population of individuals, and where it is possible to obtain measurable knowledge about each. It implies
a truly closed society.”
Individual and Community: People define their individuality by selectively making public certain things
about themselves. One important feature of this process involves memory: we rely on the fact that there
are things about us that others will forget, and that there’s is “the possibility of redemption”. A highly
organized surveillance system denies that possibility. Paradoxically, it goes with a “license to forget”: we
need to learn less and less but we have access to more and more information (WINNER, Autonomous
Technology: Technics-out-of-control as a theme in political thought, 1977). This change in the
conception of the individual extends to the practice of science. The change in the conception of the
individual scientist or geographer is in part a result of the increase in the size of the discipline, and also
in part a result of the movement of geography into what (PRICE, 1963) called “big science”: GIS is
certainly a science based on the use of rapidly changing technology, extremely expensive equipment,
and large amounts of money.

Conclusion: Those who develop and maintain GIS adopt conflicting stances toward ethical issues.
They adopt conflicting views of what an ethical statement is (meta-ethical level : emotivism vs
descriptivism), of the nature of ethical standards (moral theory level: teleology vs deontology), and they
apply to themselves standards that they do not apply to others. These contradictions are not contingent
but in a fundamental sense built into the systems.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

The location of 2 inherent strains in GIS practice, referring each time to 2 fundamentally different
conceptions of ethics, can be used as a frame to put statements into their context. Below we have
drawn a figure summarizing the 4 ethical positions developed in (CURRY, 1995). It is also quite relevant
in our perspective to keep in mind the dichotomy between autonomy and heteronomy, which is an
actual ethical issue in GIS practice.

Authors, General Statements Expression in Geography


references and GIS

Emotivism Hume Ethical sentences do not “it seems clear that the
Ayer, express propositions, they attitude
to language
A.J.
Language, express emotional attitudes. expressed in GIS leads
directly to this view”
Meta-Ethical Level

Truth and
Logic (1936)

Descriptivism Ethical language is a


subdivision of descriptive
language.
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It is absolutely true, in a
descriptive sense, that
science is good and that the
current version of the
scientific method is the
scientific method.

Teleological/ Bentham, An They measure the value of “Consequentialist theories


Consequentialist/ introduction to an act by its consequences are abundant in
the principles (when it is happiness or geography”: Cost-benefit
(Utilitarian)
of morals and pleasure that is measured, model; environmental
legislation it’s called utilitarian). impact analyses; distance
(1823) minimization models: “all
measure the desirability of
J. S. Mill,
Utilitarianism an action by comparing the
good and bad
(1863)
consequences they may
arise from it”.

Deontology Kant, Focus on obligations, and Both science and


Foundations of specifically on the moral academics rely
Moral Theory

the agent as an autonomous fundamentally on a notion


metaphysics of being. The consequences of of the individual as an
moral (1785) an action are quite autonomous agent
irrelevant to its moral value.
Table 1: Towards an Ethical Frame for GIS

CHRISMAN, N. (2006). Full circle: More than just social implications of GIS. Cartographica , 40
(4), 23-35.

Summary

“Over the past few years, a number of geographers, inspired by social theory of various derivations,
attempted to recenter the focus of research about GIS. In place of a technical agenda, they sought to
make space for studies of the implications of GIS for society at many scales and through many
processes. While much of their critique serves useful purposes, the focus on implications adopts a
model of GIS as an inexorable implacable force. This paper argues for a full circle of implication: GIS–
the daily practice, the data stored, the software packages – is constructed and maintained by social
processes embedded in historical and geographically contingent settings. Only by understanding the full
circle of implications can we begin to think about making any attempt to understand or to redirect the
direction of GIS development. This paper demonstrates the value of a full circle by reexamining the
arguments made in the book Ground Truth.”

Highlights

Social Implications of GIS: origins of a movement: The interest in GIS developed by the rest of the
field of geography in the 1990’s is more likely due to the new employment market created by GIS than
to the argument of novelty. Criticism has begun to be expressed in cartography, most notably with
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(HARLEY, 1990) and (WOOD, 1992). Their central argument is based on connecting maps to power.
But the early phase of trenchant attacks has failed and the publication of (PICKLES 1995) set a new
tone fort it included both GIS insiders (eg. Goodchild) and more critical voices (eg. Pickles). Several
research agendas were presented, with the central focus on social implications of GIS. (CHRISMAN,
2006) argues for expanding the research away from just the issues of implications which leads to a “full
circle” for “social context influences GIS and GIS influences society”. Closing the full circle provides
guidance to the theoretical interrogation of GIS.
Understanding GIS as a social construction: Arguments about GIS technology often slip into a
discourse of technological determinacy, which is based on 2 major tenets : technology is engaged in a
“March of Progress” which leads from less to more advanced systems ; technology is an imperative to
which social institutions and people must adapt. On one hand, for GIS-proponents, technology can fulfil
every demand, while being somehow independent of the people, operating on its own internal logic. On
the other hand, critics of GIS have focused on the impacts of technology. People using GIS are not
mere instruments of progress, nor simple victims of its social consequences. A more nuanced
understanding of interactions between people and technology is therefore necessary. GIS technology
must be seen as a result of localized social construction. Research in GIS rarely takes account of a 2
directional flow of influence between society and GIS technology but technological innovation in general
is a complex interaction of economic, institutional, political, social and cultural components.
A source of assistance: Studies of Technology and Science: The history and philosophy of science
(Kuhn, Feyerabend) no longer provide support for the mythology of inexorable progress. On the
contrary, the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) developed a “strong program” of researchers
(Bloor, Collins) who argued that social relationships underpin the development of science and
technology. This strong program argues against the study of impacts from technology to society. Latour
argues against the division between “nature”, a realm for scientific enquiry, and “society”, a realm for
human creation. The argument of “inherent logic” becomes in this literature that any logic in an
technology was put there by developers through some process and adopted by users for another set of
reasons. An actor-network approach can be used to show how different GIS organizations interact
between themselves. Greisemer and Fujimura have developed the concept of boundary objects:
objects that mediate between different groups without providing a common understanding or a
consensus between participants. In GIS, every data sharing arrangement requires boundary objects. An
example for boundary objects is the different layers in the multipurpose cadastre. “Not merely an
instrument or toolbox, each particular GIS presents a unique collection of artifacts that enable multiple
social groups, with divergent, or even contradictory values, to mediate these differences and construct
more technological artifacts that multiple groups can share. At best, the social construction of
technological objects is only stable for a specific moment and subject to constant renegotiation.”
Reassessing Ground Truth: The paper reviews briefly each chapter of (PICKLES, 1995), as a key
event in formulating the research agenda. In its preface, (PICKLES, 1995) announces 3 points: “first, a
book about the transformation of data handling and mapping capabilities that have emerged in the past
two decades, and the impact they have had within the discipline of geography. Second, it is a book
about the constellation of ideas, ideologies, and social practices that have emerged with the
development of new forms of data handling and spatial representation. Third, it situates GIS as a tool
and an approach to geographical information within wider transformations of capitalism in the late 20th
century”. But (CHRISMAN, 2006) notices that the third point is an unkept promise: the actual chapters
do not discuss the mechanism by which GIS is influenced by its surroundings.
Turning the circle: Realms of Influence: Even if a “system” can be as inclusive as one wants,
(CHRISMAN, 2006) chooses to distinguish between software, data and results to describe GIS
subsystems as they cover some of the distinct paths in which society influences GIS and GIS influences
society. First, the software, even if it seems isolated from the social realm, shapes social relationships
and is shaped by them. For instance, if a stupid error can sit unnoticed for years, the user community
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will finally discover it and provoke several calls on the same day. Second, there’s a great potential for
circular connections from the social situation to the GIS and reverse from the data perspective. “ The
data resources available for GIS make the generic software capable of working in a specific place, with
specific people, to serve the specific need.” For instance, data available in Sri Lanka, where about 95%
of mapping professionals work for a public agency, are very different from the data available in Japan
where the private sector is much more present. At least but not last, (CHRISMAN, 2006) notices that the
results are not just preordained by data and software: “the results from a GIS are not just the
product of an inexorable technical force. Some person still clicks that mouse.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

First of all, this paper can be used as a good review of (PICKLES, 1995). We do not sum up here what
is already a summary, but it can be useful to refer to it. Second, the critical lecture that is made, from an
author who rejects the thesis of the autonomy of technique, seems highly relevant. Finally, it can be
used as a model of how connecting results in Technology and Science Studies to a specific case study,
here GIS, but also for other realms.
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Ethical Issues at stake

O'LOONEY, J. (2000). Ethical and Legal Issues. In Beyond Maps: GIS and Decision Making in
Local Government (pp. 165-188). Redlands: ESRI Press.

Summary

Considering GIS as “a fact of life” in local government, (O'LOONEY, 2000) seeks to inform managers
and elected officials about the potential promise and pitfalls associated with GIS in a balanced view.
(O'LOONEY, 2000) is divided in 3 parts : “GIS Tools and their implications for Local Government
Decision Making”; “the use of GIS in local government”; “Policy Making in an Age of GIS”. This last part
treats of Ethical and Legal Issues, Implications of GIS Ownership, and Maps as a way to Build
Communities. Here we will review only the chapter on Ethical and Legal Issues, in which 5 major
interrelated challenges of GIS are presented: Access (ensuring that policy makers and citizens can use
GIS tools to participate in government), Privacy (managing the unexpected effects of geobased data
systems on privacy), Cost Recovery (protecting the public investment), Equity (supporting the use of
GIS to promote democratic values), Legal liability (managing the other 4 challenges within the
framework of the law).

Highlights

Barriers to Accessibility: the global and recent imperative for including the public in decision making
applied to the GIS field asks some questions. Indeed, “customizing the GIS interface to make it
accessible to more people limits the choices of the citizen, draws the focus of the user to some data and
not to other data, and leads the user to conceptualize an issue in a certain way.” Some of the issues
involved in the attempt of making GIS tools available for the public are: the nature of electronic
systems (“the capacity of a GIS to integrate massive amounts of diverse data may disguise the nature
of any particular subset of data and distract policy makers and citizens from questioning the nature of
this data), the proliferation of data (as it is not easy to keep track from where the data has come from
and what is its quality and reliability, the GIS community has developed standard metadata), and
design (“the lack of a standard correspondence between an electronic display (or representation) and
the underlying data presents a design challenge.”)
GIS and Public Participation in Planning: by itself, public access to computers and GIS products is
not sufficient to ensure that GIS is used to balance important public values - for this, local government
managers will have to put into place participation mechanisms. The McArthur Foundation’s GIS-based
model represents an important step in this process. A rapid historic of Evolving Views of Planning and
Information Systems is proposed, from 1960’s System Optimization, when Planning is seen as an
applied science and Information Technology just provides the information, to 1990’s Collective Design,
when Planning is considered as a way of “reasoning together” thanks to the information infrastructure.
Privacy and Citizen Access: (O'LOONEY, 2000) usefully starts by reminding that in many cases,
privacy protection and citizen access to information work together, eg. When the law says that there are
no secret records and that individuals have an opportunity to see and correct any records that contain
personal information, citizen access works to ensure a degree of privacy. But he also gives illustrations
of the contrary, based on interviews he had with public managers: “for example, one manager plans not
to provide direct public access to electronic data on the owners of property. He is concerned that if
people can obtain the information without interactions with his staff, they may misuse it or misconstrue
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 30
it, to the detriment of other people. He prefers that citizens with questions interact with a local
government employee who can provide background and context for data provided.” One can however
wonder about this story if somehow the privacy of land ownership is not protected to the detriment of the
privacy of the people who want the information, and will have to justify their demand, if not being at the
mercy of the government employee who appreciates their request (personal interrogation). A table is
proposed to synthesize the advantages and inconvenient of different Dissemination Strategies for GIS-
based Information:

Table 2: Advantages and Inconvenients of Different Strategies for GIS-based Information (O'LOONEY 2000)

Cost Recovery: Some governments have chosen the “catalogue method” to achieve some level of cost
recovery. It consists on charging a flat fee per geographic area with an additional set-up fee and various
charges for each media type, and it works well for most citizen needs, but is not satisfactory when
citizens need to look at a broad range of attributes over a large geographic area. Basically, “the source
of the controversy about the purchase of GIS data can be found in the tension between the desire of
GIS managers to act in the interests of an open information environment and their desire to make their
programs financially secure. Many states and localities are still working out the discretion that will be
allowed to GIS programs in this regard.” The City of Ontario, in California, has found an original way of
treating its sales of GIS data: it gives the data away, but charges for technical assistance and
consultation in interpreting and analyzing the data, and transferring the data to other platforms. This
strategy presented many advantages: “The city found that this strategy expanded the use of its data to
many more community groups, consultants, and agencies. This process, by itself, has positives effects
on public policy making. But it also increased the demand for information services. As a result, the city
was able to do a more effective job of recouping its information production costs.”
Case study: the paper presents 3 case studies, of which we will review just one, about a city in the
southwest of USA, in which the city council was considering a developer’s request for a new
development for a particular part of the city. A group of citizens presented a petition against this
development project to the council. Before making their decisions, the council asked the GIS
department to match the addresses on the petition to a map of the city. The map showed that the
stronger cluster of points marking petitioner addresses was not near the development site and that there
were no marks on the parcels of land that directly bordered on the proposed development site. The
council then asked the planning department staff to survey the persons owning the property adjacent to
the development site for their opinion on the issue. It turned out they had no objections and some even
strongly favoured its approval. As a result of these findings and the pattern of petitioner addresses the
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council decided to approve the developer’s request, which raises a number of questions, such as: when
is it appropriate for local government policy makers to weigh a citizen’s geographic situation? How
should the geographic variables be factored into the decision? How will the knowledge that their
addresses will be geocoded affect the willingness of citizens to petition public policy makers on local
government issues?

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This book’s section offers an interesting overview of ethical questions linked to GIS development in local
governments, focusing especially on the issues of privacy, accessibility, and, what is new in our
literature review, cost recovery. The final case study about address matching also addresses a series of
new questions about GIS use and public policy in local government, which are potentially applicable to
larger scales: what if a national government used address matching to weigh a referendum’s result?
How can a government justify that a geographically involved citizen’s opinion should be more worthy
than any other, even when considering a particular locally-based project development?

SUI, D. (2008). The wikification of GIS and its consequences: Or Angelina Jolie’s new tattoo and
the future of GIS. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems , 32, 1-5.

Summary

(SUI, 2008) considers the issues of potential invasion of individual privacies by GIS due to the
increasing use of high resolution remote sensing imageries and aerial photographs. The paper focuses
on a recent episode involving Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.

Highlights

Angelina Jolie’s new tatto and the wikification of GIS: A. Jolie’s new tattoo shows the
latitude/longitude of the place where she adopted her four kids. Using Google maps, her fans were
therefore able to produce a map showing the birth place of Jolie’s kid almost instantaneously. Then,
with the help of Google Earth, they could develop a KML [keyhole markup language] to reveal detailed,
street-level information using high resolution satellite imageries, and broadcasted it to the 100 million
users of Google Earth. This is an example of a new development for GIS, and the research community
is still trying to understand its meaning and significance. (SUI, 2008) argues that the wikification of GIS
should be seen as a continuation of the earlier successes of open-source software development (e.g.
Linux), consumer-driven business development (e.g. eBay), and user-led knowledge production (e.g.
Wikipedia). The main characteristic of these systems is the cooperation of free individual agents working
together to solve a given problem or improve a given operation. This new social trend is also
characterized by the cult of amateur.
Implications for GISystems: The wikification of GIS has clearly been manifested in the four major
components which define a GIS (hardware, software, data, people). And the four major functions of GIS
(data acquisition, storage, analysis/modeling, mapping/visualization) have been improved in the wiki
spirit. The most significant development for the wikification of GIS probably resides in the area of data
production, in which passive consumers have became active producers of geospatial information. This
phenomenon was called by (GOODCHILD, 2007) “volunteered geographic information” (VGI).
Implications for GIScience: The wikification of GIS has also put a new twist on the GIScience as
defined in the Varenius Project, which defined GIScience as having three main focuses : cognitive
models of geographic space, computational implementations of geographic concepts, and geographies
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of the information society. Some questions thus arise: for instance, is the altruistic wikification process a
passing fad, or is it a sustainable way of practicing GIScience? What are the motivations of people who
practice VGI? Is the wikification process enlarging disparities in society by allowing the favored few to
exploit the mediocre many or will it eventually narrow the digital divide and produce digital dividends for
all?
The media and message of NeoGeography: geography without geographers?: NeoGeography is
the one practiced by the masses using the latest Web 2.0 technology. A parallel is made with what
happened in the journalistic field, in which journalism exists without journalists. (SUI, 2008) argues that
we are witnessing the emergence of a new geography made without geographers.

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If the leading topic might not seem very serious – after all, there is a picture of Angelina Jolie’s new
tattoo in the paper – we believe it asks some very good questions : what is the status of laypersons
versus experts in GIS field? Are professional geographers comfortable with the emergence of this new
kind of geography which wouldn’t’ need them anymore? And in our perspective, how can an ethics
frame be developed if the field is filled with non professionally committed individuals? Is there any
relevance to consider ethical issues within the VGI frame?
ROTH, R. E. (2007). The use of remotely sensed imagery and GIS analysis for the automated
detection of water infiltration in residential structures. Middle States Geographer , 123-132.

Summary

“The potential for application of GIScience techniques and technologies is increasingly being realized by
a multitude of diverse domains. This paper reports on one such application in the domain of building
diagnostics, a subfield of the broader economic sector of building construction. A pressing issue in
building diagnostics is the detection of water infiltration, a condition that can cause significant damage to
the structure of the home and the health of its inhabitants. One source of water infiltration stems from
the failure of the home’s chimney pan, a flashing used externally on the chimney for the purpose of
diverting rain water away from the chimney flue while allowing smoke to escape from the fireplace. The
possibility of remotely detecting chimney pan failure as a proxy for water infiltration in residential
structures is discussed. A model with multiple variants is offered that uses a combination of remote
sensing and GIS methods to detect and extract the locations of failed chimney pans. The feasibility of
implementing this model is then addressed, describing both technical and ethical impediments to
successful remote monitoring of chimney pan failure. Of the variants, remote detection of chimney
pan reflectance using high-resolution aerial photography in a suburban context appears to be the most
promising possibility.” (ROTH, 2007)

Highlights

Water infiltration problem is considered as the primary cause of a house’s deterioration as well as a
health risk to the home’s inhabitants. An important cause of water infiltration being failure of the roofing
materials, the “chimney pan proxy” is proposed, as a way of going further the usual in situ detection,
which is described as a “more costly, time-consuming, and invasive process compared to remote
detection.” Moreover, remote detection allows a kind of “planned preventive maintenance” (PPM), which
is the opposite of what most homeowner do, which is “Just-in-time maintenance” (JIT). Remote
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detection of chimney pan failure is then presented as an efficient way and not so invasive of preventing
both home damaging and potential health fatal effects.
An important part is then dedicated to the technical assessment of the project, which is not very relevant
for us. Let’s jump directly to the ethical concerns chapter. The author starts by referring to the fourth
amendment of the US Constitution2 and to the 1965 Grisewold v. Connecticut case3, as well as to
recent research about the social acceptability of remote sensing (BOOTHBY & DUMMER, 2003) and its
potential drifts, especially in case of commercial misuse of remotely sensed imagery (MONMONNIER,
2002). It also takes the FLIR (forward-looking infrared) case as an illustration of the privacy issue in the
context of remote sensing technologies for residential surveillances. The use of FLIR sensors has been
indeed challenged as a violation of privacy when used to detect unusual amounts of waste heat in
connection to indoor marijuana cultivation. “FLIR is considered a more invasive remote sensing
technology because it records heat levels from within the house, rather than simply capturing
images of the home’s exterior.” And the Supreme Court finally ruled that using FLIR for marijuana
surveillance was a violation of privacy in the 2001 case of Kyllo v. United States.

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This paper is interesting for us by 3 aspects: first, the fact that ethical concerns are considered equally
with technical ones to assess the feasibility of the chimney pan failure remote detection, in a journal
which is not otherwise especially concerned by ethical issues.
Second, ethical concerns seem to be concentrated on the remote detection process more than on the
GIS analysis that necessarily follows and also arises its own ethical issues. The only concern about GIS
seems to be about its quality and reliability, and then about GIS analyst’s skills: “It is important that the
GIS analyst has expertise in remotely sensed image interpretation (i.e., technical expertise) and
knowledge of the nature of the chimney pan proxy (i.e., domain expertise) when visually interpreting the
image.”
Third, within the ethical concerns, the fact that are mostly considered legal issues, but not only. The
paper concludes about this issue that “because legality does not confirm ethicality, it is important
to continue to ask questions of ethical appropriateness when applying RS and GIS methods to
extract individuals from the landscape that match a targeted profile.”
Specificities of PPGIS

LAITURI, M. (2003). The Issue of Access: An Assessment Guide for Evaluating Public
Participation Geographic Information Science Case Studies. Journal of the Urban and Regional
Information Systems Association, URISA Special Issue , 15 (2), 25-32.

2 Which exactly says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported
by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

3 in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy, in a case which

involved a Connecticut law against contraceptives: the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the
“right to marital privacy”.
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Summary

“This article examines how technology mediates access to geographic information for public
participation. Access consists of several components: context, connectivity, capabilities, and
content. An assessment guide is introduced that defines a series of continuums for evaluating case
studies that involve public participation and geographic information systems. The purpose of this article
is to introduce a preliminary guide for assessing existing case studies to facilitate a dialogue for
evaluating public participation, access, and geographic information systems. Seven case studies are
examined.” (LAITURI, 2003)

Highlights

The paper presents a preliminary guide for assessing existing case studies in order to facilitate a
dialogue to understand PPGIS projects to date; the initial ideas come from a scholars meeting in
Spoleto (Italy). An Access Assessment Guide is presented, which addresses many questions,
summarized in the table below:
Purpose: What is the Simple  Complex Project: Does the problem concern simple single issues
structures are accessed based upon the purpose and
(is the setting that determines how technically imposed

problem or issue being or does it address complex multiple issues?


addressed? Day-to-day decisions  Strategic outcomes: Does
the project address day-to-day decisions or strategic outcomes over the long
term?
Stakeholders: Who are the Marginal  Mainstream  Elite: The relationship that a group of people
participants practicing have to the political/social process reveals how integrated that group is in the
PPGIS? political process and how much power they have. Is PPGIS an avenue for
participatory democracy?
Linkages: What linkages, Single  Multiple agencies: Does it address multi-agency concerns? (In the
participants in the project.)

partnerships, and case of natural resource management, PPGIS demands integration across
relationships exist between disciplines as well as across agencies.)
the participants? No trust  Trust: Do the new interactions between
different participants mean that trust must be built or
CONTEXT

does expertise, professional background and credentials satisfy the


participants?
Unit of Analysis: How is Local  Regional  Global: What is the unit of analysis?
place defined?
Policies Donations  Grants  Funding: Explicit policies of governments may exist
available for access to that
technological
infrastructure and the funding that is

to facilitate connections to remote and underpopulated areas and to provide


infrastructure for PPGIS projects.)

oversight, guidance, and assistance to ensure the participation of markets


and the private sector in this process. Generally, policies are not
implemented unless there is funding available which may be in the form of
donations, grants, or as an explicit line item in a budget (funding).
Infrastructure: An outcome Urban  Rural: Is the project in an urban, a suburban,
the

of these activities and or a rural setting? (An unequal distribution of cyberspatial connections and
CONNECTIVITY

polices is the intersection of bandwidth exists, particularly in rural areas and inner cities.)
cyberspace and physical
(identifies

space – the materiality of


cyberspace that is made up
of points of access, the
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 35
actual wires and links in the No technology  Best technology: To what extent do
real world, as well as a set project participants have access to the fundamental
of linked technologies that technology or state-of-the-art technology?
provide access: modems,
mobile phones, or mobile
Internet.

Basic Literacy Less educated  More educated: identifies


the educational level of the participants.
(determine how participants will interface with the technology.

Computer Literacy Novice  Training  Education: includes the ability to operate and maintain
computers. At its most basic, computer literacy means an understanding of
keyboards, logging on, and basic skills in pointing and clicking a mouse. A
subset of computer literacy is Internet-literacy, which means an
understanding of the
virtual world created by computer software programs
and the ability to navigate in cyberspace: operating
systems, web browsers, search engines, key words, and Web pages.
Training is important for technology transfer and refers to government- or
vendor-sponsored training programs. Education refers to individuals with
degrees in computer science that may assist PPGIS projects.
Spatial Literacy Novice  Training  Education: translates into conceptual access to
understand the underlying grid imposed by cartography (coordinate
systems), geodesy (datum’s and projections), geospatial science (spatial
analysis), and digital information (raster, vector, triangular irregular networks
CAPABILITIES

(TINs)) that includes terms generally not part of the everyday lexicon. In
addition, it means understanding specialized software for GIS analyses,
understanding digital data formats, and conveying results to different
audiences. Experts may be needed to translate and transform information or
training and education for the purposes of technology transfer.
Data availability Information rich  Information poor: One end of this
(Place-based “data” with local content are needed for many PPGIS

spectrum is having the best available digital information


to be used in a GIS. The other end is having little or no
information. Are data available for place-based projects? Another important
consideration is whether or not it is in the appropriate language. The
information may be there, but not available to the potential users unless they
have access to experts. 80% of Internet content is in English, of which one
quarter of the world understands.
Data types: The questions Public data  Sensitive data: Public data refer to data that are available
projects. Content refers to data and information.)

of a PPGIS project include from governmental entities at little or no cost and may also include value-
a added data that can be purchased from a private vendor. Sensitive data refer
variety of different data to information that may be considered sensitive or sacred. Some projects
types at different spatial may use both types of data and will need to determine methods to protect
scales and of varying sensitive information and integrate with a larger database.
vintages. These may New data  Inherited or existing data: Integration of data types involves the
include physical, cultural, use of new data (remotely sensed images) or the creation of new data (use
social, and environmental of a global positioning system to collect field data) with inherited or existing
data of both a qualitative data (topographical maps).
and quantitative nature.
Qualitative data  Quantitative data: What happens to information that does
not lend itself conceptually or easily to a digital environment? Cultural
CONTENT

concepts are difficult to transform across the boundaries of language and


technology. Alternatively, quantitative data fit into the framework of a GIS.
Most biogeophysical data are
quantitative.
Table 3: An Access Assessment Guide for PPGIS
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Among the 7 case studies presented, one is about the Colorado-Big Thompson Watershed Forum,
which aims at developing a cooperative water quality information system that standardizes water quality
monitoring between multiple agencies. A GIS was created to display land use and water quality
information. The assessment of this project following the context issue within the assessment guide
presented above gives this:

Figure 2: A result of PPGIS Access Assessment Guide (LAITURI 2003)

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

This catalogue of questions to address in order to assess access in PPGIS can be used as it is, or
focusing especially on questions which have an ethical aspect (eg.: for the data types, the sensitiveness
of data clearly echoes ethical issues). In any case, it can be used to see the implications of any
question’s answer on a meta-level which can lead to a more generic assessment of access, which can
be considered in itself as a major ethical issue within the GIS fields, since it sends back as well to the
so-called “digital divide” as to the privacy issue – and many others. The case studies presented can
constitute a good illustration of a methodology which allows assessing a quantitative value to the
questions addressed and offers a way of representing it.
SIEBER, R. (2006). Public participation geographic information systems: A literature review and
framework. Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 96, 491–507.

Summary

“Public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) pertains to the use of geographic
information systems (GIS) to broaden public involvement in policymaking as well as to the value of GIS
to promote the goals of nongovernmental organizations, grassroots groups, and community-based
organizations. The article first traces the social history of PPGIS. It then argues that PPGIS has been
socially constructed by a broad set of actors in research across disciplines and in practice across
sectors. This produced and reproduced concept is then explicated through four major themes found
across the breadth of the PPGIS literature: place and people, technology and data, process, and
outcome and evaluation. The themes constitute a framework for evaluating current PPGIS activities and
a roadmap for future PPGIS research and practice.”

Highlights

How GIS and Public Participation are related : it first can seem weird to attribute to a piece of
software the potential to enhance or limit public participation. If attributing empowerment to technology
is not new, there are 4 main reasons for which GIS is given such a potential : 1/ Most information used
in policy-making contains a spatial component. 2/ Extending the use of spatial information to all relevant
stakeholders presumably leads to better policymaking. 3/ The resulting output of this policy-related
information, as visualized spatially, can convey ideas and convince people of the importance of those
ideas. 4/ Such systems, which allow across themes and scales, are more and more affordable and
easy-to-use. PPGIS originally had 2 dimensions : empower less privileged groups in society and be
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more inclusive to non-official voices. Therefore, it doesn’t reside exclusively in the domain of geography.
Four themes offer a framework for a coproduced PPGIS :

Place and People

Context : Even if PPGIS is a highly localized activity, systems conceived for one type of place and
people are often applied to far different arenas. A coproduced PPGIS must consider specific contexts,
stakeholders, and general public. A PPGIS project is conditioned by the laws, culture, politics, and
history of the community in which it is applied (GHOSE, Use of information technology for community
empowerment: Transforming geographic information systems into community information systems.,
2001). Place determines both the texture of social networks and prosaic resources like the extent of
telecommunications and electrical infrastructure. inequality. Cultures can also vary in their acceptance
of PPGIS on the basis of their tolerance of expert solutions, their sense of collective control, and their
level of individualism. (ELWOOD & GHOSE, 2004) synthesize four factors that affect institutional culture
in community-based organizations (CBOs) engaged in PPGIS: organizational knowledge and
experience, networks of collaborative relationships, organizational stability, and organizational priorities,
strategies, and status.
Stakeholders, other actors, and public : stakeholders are different from the general public.
Delineation of stakeholders is complicated partly because of the potential of PPGIS initiatives to
implicate stakeholders not in the immediate geography or those who operate at multiple scales. As for
the public, the general question is : “Does someone who demonstrates interest in the project become a
member of the public even though he or she is a continent removed from the community?” Indeed,
physical bounding cannot be anymore the only delineation criteria.

Technology and Data :

Extent of GIS Technology: Technology in PPGIS is not a passive instrument, but a malleable tool that
participants can shift to suit their goals. “An effective PPGIS application depends on understanding how
much and when technology should be brought into a process. The corollary is how much GIS must be
learned by individual stakeholders and what technologies can be supported by available resources.”
Given the fact that most of PPGIS activity is cartographic, one essential skill may be map reading, and
for some of the participants, computer programming.
Accessibility of data: Most spatial data available to PPGIS projects are created by the public sector.
(HOFFMAN, 2003) summarizes the constraints placed on availability of data as a series of four
competing ethics within government : “(1) open government: information produced by the
government is public and therefore should be inexpensive and easy to access; (2) individual privacy:
privacy of citizens is paramount and data cannot be made public; (3) security: security of the state is a
major factor and data that compromise that security cannot be made public; and (4) fiscal responsibility:
government should be entrepreneurial in its approach to data that have a market value.” Universities or
non-profit organizations can face similar constraints.
Appropriateness of information: The challenge in PPGIS is to understand the importance of
accuracy. Indeed, there are numerous examples of information available but in the wrong format, with
incorrect resolution, or being incomplete. (BARNDT, 2002) presents a model for assessing the value of
data used in a PPGIS project, asking questions like “Are the data and material produced appropriate to
the organizational issues? Can the organization use the information in an action-oriented way to support
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decisions, enhance communication, and inform actions? Is information available to the organization in a
timely manner?”, etc.
Representation of Knowledge: Representation should not be identified with visualization, and is
particularly critical when local knowledge is used. Efforts to incorporate indigenous spatial knowledge
include traditionally intangible information, like how residents perceive the uniqueness of a given area.
In this perspective, one must decide whose knowledge (expert/layperson, old/young, etc.) should be
included and how this knowledge is transposed for GIS. The goal of PPGIS is not to convert all local
knowledge into a digital product, but to organise relevant information that was not available, using the
technological capability of GIS, in order to assist communities in their decision-making.

Process

System Implementation and Sustainability: “system implementation” refers to the adoption of GIS
technology by non-profit organizations and less-resourced groups. Even if costs for hardware and
software decrease, costs for relevant and high-resolution data remain high. These costs are prohibitive
for developing countries and for many non-profit organizations in the USA. PPGIS implementation can
thus be differentiated by the level of coordination within an organization or network. When GIS
resources are external to the community, administered by universities or public agencies, the challenge
is one of external agents ensuring that project objectives match community goals and available
resources.
Participation and Communication in the Policy-Making Process: A ladder model of public
participation, like Arnstein’s one, can be applied to PPGIS. Several objections are made though :
however much external agents may wish it, structures may not exist to support “high” level of
participation such as power sharing, in PPGIS context. Besides, the ideal of equal participation might be
a Western fixation which does not correspond to indigenous rules about who should speak and who
should not. Moreover, participation models like the ladder do not include oppositional forms. Finally, the
very use of “participatory” refers to a top-down approach, when a “bottom-up” may be preferred.
Decision-Making Structures and Processes: PPGIS has been tailored to fit specific collaborative
processes. But questions remain on how best to integrate PPGIS into decision-making processes.
resolved? “At what stage in the decision-making process should the PPGIS be introduced? What
decision outcome is desired (e.g., consensus, synthesis, or representation of multiple views)? Once
again, questions of process must consider not just the process itself, but also the problem the process is
designed to solve.”

Outcome and Evaluation

If public participation is assumed to be the stated goal of PPGIS, it poses a challenge to evaluation.
Outcome and Evaluation thus remain two of the least understood aspects of GIS.
Goals and outcomes: The ostensible goal of PPGIS is empowerment. But, its meaning is not
universal: it can range from the material, such as outputting maps, to the discursive, like extended
participation, equity, or redistribution. Four categories of goals can be distinguished for the use of GIS
by CBOs : administrative (e.g. locate members), organizational (e.g. recruit members), tactical (e.g.
search for suitable location), and strategic (e.g. evaluate success of activities). However, (ELWOOD &
GHOSE, 2004) suggest that goals emanate from particular organizational cultures and personal
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ideologies. Thus, straightforward identification of goals is uncommon, and within a pluralistic society, it
may be difficult to reach agreement over how GIS should be used and by whom.
Measurement and Evaluation: Very few measurements of PPGIS effectiveness are done, partly
because it is not obvious what should be measured. (BARNDT, 2002) and others argue that the
benchmark for a PPGIS project evaluation should be its appropriateness (its match with an
organization’s existing activities), its adaptability to local conditions, and its fitness to current
organizational capacity and overall goals. A PPGIS project also should be integrated into broader
societal goals. The ability to assess the contribution of GIS stated goals is crucial, first for public
participation not being taken as a proxy to evaluate any PPGIS project, second, in order to obtain
funding for many organizations.

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This paper can help framing the Technolife project in two ways : first, it offers a rather exhaustive review
on the literature existing about PPGIS until 2005, and constitutes therefore a good introduction to its
specific problematic. Second, the framework it suggests may be useful not only for PPGIS but for GIS in
general. The four themes explained above can be reformulated in a series of questions that we should
ask before considering further any GIS project and its ethical issues :
What’s the local context and who are the people involved? What’s their status, from stakeholders to
general public? How much of GIS technology is really needed there? Are the competing ethics of
individual privacy, security and fiscal government taken into account enough? What are the legitimate
data to include in a GIS, besides the expert knowledge? What is the nature of access and participation?
Which kind of benchmark should be used to evaluate GIS project? And, overall, what are GIS goals
and do they fit with the obtained outcomes?

GHOSE, R., & ELWOOD, S. (2003). Public Participation GIS and Local Political Context:
Propositions and Research Directions. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems
Association, URISA Special Issue , 15 (2), 17-24.

Summary

“Recent discussions in Public Participation Geographic Information Science (PPGIS) research highlight
the importance of examining the local contextual factors that shape the PPGIS process. Through
ongoing comparative case-study research, we are specifying the local contextual factors that influence
PPGIS production and neighborhood planning activities. Using the case of Milwaukee, this article
explores the complexity embedded in the local political context that affects the nature of citizen
participation and the effectiveness and sustainability of PPGIS initiatives among community-based
organizations. Studies on PPGIS initiatives related to community development in cities in the United
States have mainly explored the role of the local state in shaping GIS and citizen participation. Our
research indicates that the local political context is not a singular/unified factor, but must be assessed
as a complicated set of interrelated relationships among multiple government and non-governmental
institutions, positioned at different scales, that play an interconnected role in shaping the processes of
participation and of PPGIS production.” (GHOSE & ELWOOD, Public Participation GIS and Local
Political Context: Propositions and Research Directions, 2003)
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Highlights

Introduction: Over the past decade, considerable focus has emerged on the issue of access to
geographic information and on participatory approaches to using such information. Previous research
suggested that access to geographic data and participatory approaches to GIS use have an important
bearing on the social and political implications of GIS, particularly for marginalized institutions and social
groups. The common argument of many different inquiries is that geographic data access and PPGIS
projects are highly contingent on and strongly shaped by the local context in which they are situated.
The paper intends to go further by exploring the particular role of political context in shaping PPGIS
production and impact, focusing on marginalized and distressed inner-city neighbourhoods of the US. It
then contributes to recent efforts in Critical GIS studies to fully theorize PPGIS processes and impacts.
PPGIS and Local Contingency: Previous researches have shown: the contingent nature of the social
and political impacts of GIS, demonstrating how these impacts are shaped by social, political, and
economic power relations structured at multiple scales of interaction; how the use and impact of GIS
may be shaped by organizational capacities and characteristics; the importance of locally determined
opportunities for digital data access by CBO; the use of GIS by CBOs active in urban revitalization
efforts may be shaped by the openness of local governments to including these organizations as
participants and to sharing financial and informational resources necessary for GIS use.
The paper aims at building a stronger theoretical understanding of PPGIS production by illustrating
several ways in which local political context affects: the nature of participatory processes among
traditionally marginalized citizens in urban governance; the nature of PPGIS initiatives among CBOs;
effectiveness and sustainability of PPGIS initiatives.
Comparative analysis of PPGIS efforts by 6 community organizations in Milwaukee will show that
PPGIS production is shaped by: relationships between local state actors; local technical assistance
providers; community organizations.
Much of the data come from interviews and analysis of documents and maps.

The Role of Local Political Context in Enhancing and Limiting PPGIS Production: Milwaukee is
taken as a relevant case study because PPGIS in Milwaukee has become a central element of multiple
collaborative strategies, and because of the complex network of governmental and non-governmental
institutions that have been engaged in PPGIS production. For instance, the city has developed Map
Milwaukee (http://gis.milwaukee.gov/website/mm1/viewer.htm), an Internet-based GIS in which citizens
can add information, and which is supported by several local institutions, including the University. As for
the Community Block Grant Administration, it fostered participation through the Neighbourhood
Strategic Planning program, which enables greater neighbourhood involvement thanks to the “SWOT”
strategy : each neighbourhood organization should identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats and use the results to formulate a strategic plan. “These plans typically engage a wide
array of issues, such as crime mitigation, development of youth programs, employment opportunities,
job training, housing rehabilitation, tenant advocacy, health care, and recreational opportunities. The
NSP process has been a particularly important motivation for local community organizations to pursue
PPGIS initiatives.”
It is then highlighted that the role of the political context is complicated by the differential power
positions occupied by the various participants.

Future Directions: “It is clear here that local political context shaping PPGIS is composed of multi-
layered entities and also includes the role of non-governmental actors engaged in urban planning,
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neighborhood revitalization, and PPGIS production. As well, this case underscores the necessity of
examining ties between different actors shaping the politics of PPGIS production and citizen
involvement in local planning and revitalization.[…] We would propose that continued study of these
overlapping relationships and involvements in PPGIS and citizen participation is essential to
understanding the differential impact of PPGIS, as well as clarifying links between information
access and public participation – two key elements emerging in current discussions of a PPGIS
research agenda.”

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First of all, the case study of a successful PPGIS experience, and the identification of elements which
led to this success might be powerfully extended to any GIS process – maybe just by restricting the
whole citizens community to specific stakeholders. If ethical issues are not explicitly mentioned, the
importance attributed to relationships between people, governmental and non-governmental
organizations, and power issues, may remind us of the human and political component of GIS, which
means specific ethical concerns to have: do the people who have the data also have the institutional or
symbolical power? What are the relationships between stakeholders? Can they identify their SWOT
(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and do they know how GIS can help? Maybe those
questions cannot be asked about any GIS process, but at least thinking about it might be a good thing
anyway.
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The Unclassifiable Counter-Example

KAZDA, M. J., ROSSMANN BEEL, E., VILLEGAS, D., GOOD MARTINEZ, J., PATEL, N., & MIGALA,
W. (2009). Methodological Complexities and the Use of GIS in Conducting a Community Needs
Assessment of a Large U.S. Municipality. Journal of Community Health , 34 (3), 210-215.

Summary

“Reliable assessment of health and social needs within a community ensures that local input drives
strategic planning and programmatic decisions. Results are used to determine the priorities and focus of
local public health departments and to support the activities of health and social service agencies. We
utilized a geographic information system in the planning, administration, and analysis of a recent
community needs assessment to ensure a reliable and randomly distributed sample of a diverse urban
population and to allow for small geographic area analysis of disease prevalence data. Collection of
location data at the time of the 3,361 face-to-face assessment interviews allowed for the association of
spatial data with measures of health conditions and behaviors. Results of the assessment indicated a
need for public health programs designed to address emerging public health concerns in the
community. Incorporating a spatial component in analyses of morbidity and needs assessment data
allows for efficient integration of demographic and socio-economic census data and permits ad hoc
analyses of varied and changing geographic strata.” (KAZDA, ROSSMANN BEEL, VILLEGAS, GOOD
MARTINEZ, PATEL, & MIGALA, 2009)

Highlights

Introduction: This paper details a 5-year follow-up CNA (Community Needs Assessment) conducted in
2003 in the City of Fort Worth. “A CNA is a survey designed to identify the health and social service
needs, priorities and opinions of the community.” It is said to be essential to the efficacy of program
planning, intervention design, and program evaluation. Contemporary CNA include innovating tools, one
of them is GIS in the design, administration and analysis of CNA’s. In the health realm, GIS is mostly
used for epidemiological analysis, but its use in assessing needs at the local level has been minimal.
Methods: In Fort Worth, “the CNA was designed to elicit information on topics not only of interest to the
local health department, but to provide insight into the social, behavioural, and economic factors
relevant to the community’s overall health. A 81 questions survey was asked to 3 361 persons with
face-to-face interviews, following a very strict sampling method, which eliminates the need to weight the
resulting data.
Results: The actual results are not really interesting for us, but it might be relevant to quote some of the
questions asked: apart from some expected questions about health insurance coverage, smoking and
drinking habitudes, or most common diseases, the questionnaire also asked about education level,
primary language spoken, if one faced financial crisis, if one had troubles buying groceries, or if one had
to suffer violent behaviour from one’s partner. The majority of results were presented for the overall
respondents, but some were detailed by ethnicity when relevant.
Discussion: “The wide range of topics covered in this needs assessment has meant that the results are
relevant to a broad variety of applications. Since this activity is a reassessment of the population
surveyed in 1998, impact and outcome measures were generated from these data, establishing long
range justifications for programs or realignment of resources as needed. The results of the survey are
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also extremely useful in justifying and securing external funding, and the department is regularly
provides data for extramural grant applications in support of both internal and external initiatives. This
has resulted in millions of dollars to establish programs serving the needs of the community. The
utilization of a GIS in orchestrating the community needs assessment efforts was essential in achieving
the desired outcome of usable data.” An important strength of this approach is also the possibility to
stratify the data collected to adjust for changing geographic boundaries. GIS can be employed
throughout the entire assessment process. Finally, “by making such information readily available to
health and social service organizations, the health department is giving the entire community an
opportunity to more competitively apply for new sources of funding.”

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The most striking about this paper is that no ethical issue seems to be at stake. It describes face-to-face
interviews during which people are asked quite personal data, and then explains how useful and
efficient it will be for local public health departments, but never seems to think about privacy as an
issue. The only concern that might be described as “ethical” is the reliability of information, which
explains for instance the importance of the sampling methodology. But altogether, GIS is seen as a
powerful instrument to conduct CNA (Community Need Assessment) and no one seems uncomfortable
with the fact that the collected data cover a wide range of topics far beyond just health information – on
the contrary, it is seen as a strength to collect more funding. Besides from privacy, another ethical issue
could have been the one of community segregation: for instance, one of the results is that African
American have proportionally more problems of high blood pressure – even if this kind of data must be
indeed useful for local health department, an ethical concern may arise about the representation of this
community as soon as those results are made public.
To summarize, the paper is devoted to the methodological complexities of GIS use within the public
health system, and doesn’t say a word of ethical concerns which can arise from the very same
methodological issues. It could be interesting for us first to check that no one in the community felt
concerned by some ethical issue, and then to compare this case study to others, in which ethical issues
are said to be important, to intend to understand why the same kind of data collection sometimes is a
problem, especially regarding privacy issue, and sometimes isn’t.
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Professional Ethics: the right solution?

HAQUE, A. (2003). Information technology, GIS and democratic values: Ethical implications for
IT professionals in public service. Ethics and Information Technology , 5 (1), 39-48.

Summary

“Information technologies (IT) play a critical role in transforming public administration and redefining
the role of bureaucracy in a democratic society. New applications of IT bring great promises for
government, but at the same time raise concerns about administrative power and its abuse. Using
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as the central example, this paper provides the philosophical
underpinnings of the role of technology and discusses the importance of an ethical discourse in IT for
public service professionals. Such ethical discourse must be based on upholding the democratic values
and preserving the institutional integrity of IT professionals in public office.”

Highlights

The issue of ethics in technology within the public service is of growing importance, since the link
between information control and power is a well accepted one. Therefore, in a democratic context, it
becomes necessary to initiate a discourse that provides guidance to public managers in line with the
democratic values.

Role of IT in Public Administration: IT have become the engine for transforming public administration
in the information age. First it has changed its traditional hierarchical structure, chich is becoming more
flexible and horizontal, second it opened the road of e-government, third public administration is now
part of the “information polity”. Overall, the growing investment in IT and persons trained in IT implies a
“technocratization” of bureaucracy which has consequences in a democratic society.
Many discussions about impacts of IT in public administration suggest either an utopian pattern based
on an idealization of the benefits, either an Orwellian view in which IT’s effects are undemocratic and
deshumanizing. However, most research available suggests that’s the overall impact is positive (74%)
versus negative (19%). The positive impact is based on 3 areas of organizational capacity: information
quality, efficiency, effectiveness of organizational goals; whereas The negative impacts are primarily
related to the protection of public data and records – recent hacking attacks indicated the vulnerability of
the government’s information infrastructures.
M. Heidegger and J. Ellul’s warnings about technique are quoted, and (HAQUE, 2003) uses them in
order to prevent from misusing IT – in a rather “technophobian” perspective.

GIS and public administration: GIS is one of the most widely used IT in local government agencies in
USA. It has become a powerful tool for public agencies for planning and community development,
environmental protection, transportaion planning and modeling, etc. There is a significant polarization
about how GIS is viewed in the public sector: its protagonists see it as an empowering tool for the
marginal groups by giving them access to information, whereas its antagonists see GIS givins more
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power to the technocrats. The essential diverging point is whether the collection of social and personal
information is intrisically bad or not. “Therefore, the question whether GIS will prove to be a weapon or a
tool in the modern technological society depends on how the information collected is managed and
manipulated by public managers for making policy decisions.” Questions then arise, such as “who is
going to be responsible for the consequences of the use or misuse of the data?” or “how could
technology be used to its fullest advantage, yet provide a sound ethical basis for its use?”
Ethics and GIS: What makes GIS essentially different from other ICTs is that it integrates traditional
database with spatially referenced data in one organized system. “Its inherent power lies in its flexibility
of manipulating spatially referenced information about the data and displaying it as snapshots of real life
phenomenon.” Most of the literature about GIS code of ethics focuses on improper use of GIS that is
due to the lack of competence or limited knowledge about GIS technology. “However, a large part of
GIS use has to do with ethical issues that transcend technique, and highlight the need for a broader
understanding of the role of GIS in a democratic society.” Sources of ethical misconduct in GIS can be
divided into three broad categories: (1) actions of the GIS user that could be deemed unethical due to
the technical incompetence leading to bias decisions (limited knowledge in cartography); (2)
misinterpretation of results due to lack of information or understanding of the true nature of the real
world phenomenon; and (3) concerns regarding the quality of data as public managers, because of high
demand, are increasingly relying on private vendors and other alternative data sources. The paper
highlights the dependency on the market for data, since the U.S. Census data is updated only every ten
years, which makes GIS use vulnerable to market-driven exploitation. It insists that the argument is not
whether information and its related technology is intrinsically good or bad, but that “the primary concern
would be for citizens to ensure that government officials, who have access and control the information,
hold it in trust.”

Towards an Ethics of IT in Public Service: First of all, an ethical guidelines should emphasize on the
reliability and accuracy of the information used. That’s the point of the development of “meta-data”,
including the source, originator, and other characteristics of a spatially referenced data. The U.S. federal
government has established standards requiring those “data about data” from their data distributors.
The call for an ethical basis for the use of IT in public administration is different from the one
practitioners might use in order to “stay out of trouble”. Public ethical guidance rather intends to allow
information managers to “do good” based on democratic values. “Therefore, the challenge lies
in creating an environment that does not limit the efficient use of this powerful technology but rather puts
a limit on its arbitrary use that could undermine democratic values. To create a balanced environment
where technology is optimally utilized without abusing it for one’s own advantage, we must discover the
sources of ethical misconduct.” (HAQUE, 2003) suggests that the ethical discourse on IT and
technocratic power should be initiated by the Academia, and that universities should take the lead in
developing a platform for an IT consortium including public and private organizations. Finally, general
citizens would be integrated thanks to internet and e-mail lists.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

The distinction of 3 sources of ethical misconduct in GIS (technical incompetency; misrepresentation of


reality; data gathering and privacy) can be used as a preliminary framework to discuss ethical issues in
GIS use. However, the paper insistence on the difference between public and private use of GIS implies
too often that the solution to ethical issues is to increase public organizations power and funding, and
prevent the private sector from penetrating it too much. This vision is reinforced by a well-known
philosophical approach, based here on M.Heidegger and J.Ellul, which tends to emphasize the dangers
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 46
of technology, above all when it’s part of the economical sphere. This piece of criticism apart, it’s a
central paper for our research line, providing many quotations from the existing literature and several
current examples of ethical issues arisen by GIS use in public administration, which can possibly be
generalized to GIS use in other areas.
BLAKEMORE, M., & LONGHORN, R. A. (2004, July). Identifying ethical and unethical activities in
GIS. GIS Development .

Summary

The discussion of ethics and ethical issues for GIS practitioners should be much more embedded in the
training programmes for new entrants into the GIS profession and in the rules of good behaviour for GI
and GIS associations. Moreover, questions of ethics, as well as economics, politics and education, need
transparent resolution at the government level regarding policies for provision of public sector
information, especially that related to governance. (BLAKEMORE & LONGHORN, Identifying ethical
and unethical activities in GIS, 2004)

Highlights

As a beginning to define what an ethical conduct would be, the author proposes “to accept one of the
basic tenets of modern moral philosophy that the authority invoked for 'good' conduct is the rule of
reason and that moral behaviour results from rational thought that does not harm the individual and
leads ultimately to the greatest good for all individuals in a society.” One complication comes from the
fact that information is governed by society as a whole, in which co-exist many different points of view.
“Polarization regarding information-related issues will not be easily resolved to everyone's satisfaction,
e.g. 'free access to public sector information' versus 'the user pays principle' or 'location-based
information may save my life' versus 'location-based information violates my personal privacy.'”
The major issue in this paper seems indeed to be the eternal legal and ethical dilemma between citizen
right to access information, reaffirmed by the UNESCO in 2000 ('Governments need to balance their
strategy between preserving the integrity of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and the need for broad
access to information and knowledge.') and protection of personal privacy – protected for instance by
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 (“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and
reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”.)
If rationality is invoked at the beginning as a way of knowing whether a conduct is “good” or “bad” from
an ethical point of view, the rest of the paper is mostly dedicated to raising questions than to trying to
solve them.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

Within the Professional Ethics field for GIS practitioners, this paper takes credit for asking a few major
questions, about abuse of spatial information, rights of citizens to access information, Ethical
Responsibility for Public authorities to provide information, or personal privacy. Whereas (CRAIG,
2004), in the same magazine issue, focused on dialogue and colleague discussion to resolve ethical
issues, (BLAKEMORE & LONGHORN, Identifying ethical and unethical activities in GIS, 2004) stresses
on the importance of education and training for new entrants in the GIs profession as well as on the
necessary collaboration with public authorities. The authors will develop their ideas a few months later in
a position paper prepared for the AGI 2004 Conference Workshop on GIS Ethics, in (BLAKEMORE &
LONGHORN, Ethics and GIS: the Practitioner's dilemma, 2004).
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CRAIG, W. J. (2004, July). GIS Ethics: Understanding implications of action. GIS Development ,
http://www.gisdevelopment.net/magazine/years/2004/july/14.asp.

Summary

“Everything we do has an impact on others. Some of those impacts are negative and some are positive.
Ethics is the philosophical framework that is used to maximize the good we do and minimize the harm.
This brief paper talks about ethics as they relate to the GIS
profession. The author also talks about the new Code of Ethics developed by URISA and now in use by
the GIS Certification Institute.” (CRAIG, 2004)

Highlights

The paper’s author justify the need of ethics by the following : “The GIS professional has many
opportunities to do harm and to do good. We all try to make the right decisions, but sometimes it is not
obvious what that decision should be. There may be times when two courses of action appear right,
but only one can be taken”. He gives as an illustration for this ethical dilemma the following question:
“do you take a short-cut to get the job done on time or do you exceed the deadline and budget to
produce a more robust product?”. Other times there is only one apparent course of action, but taking it
somehow feels wrong.
Taking the example of the URISA code of Ethics adopted in April 2003, the author notices that it only
gives general guidelines, rather than specific rules of conduct. “For example, the text says things like
"Be objective, use due care, and make full use of education and skills." It does not say things like which
algorithm to use in a certain situation or whether a map legend is always required. The emphasis is on
making GIS professionals aware of their actions and the impact of those actions.”
Three causes are identified for the fact that the GIS Code of Ethics was presented without apparatus for
penalizing those who are thought to violate it: 1/ “Not having rules of conduct makes it difficult for a jury
to judge whether a person is doing the right thing”. 2/ there is a concern over excessive resources spent
on sanctions 3/ there is another concern over potential anti-trust lawsuits coming from those whose
earning capacity is reduced.
The basic philosophy underlying the URISA code comes from the Kantian principle of always treating
others with respect and never merely as means to an end. The ethical issue arises when there is a
conflict between obligations to different entities (employer vs. society for instance). J. Craig reminds
us that obligations to society are pre-eminent, but without really justifying it otherwise than by the
common sense. Finally, the only concrete advice formulated for GIS practitioners facing an ethical issue
is to verbalize it and discuss it with colleagues: “The dialog with a colleague could help both of you. GIS
professionals tend to think of themselves as competent people whose main concern is keeping current
in the technology. We need to admit that we are part of the social world and reflect on the implications
of our actions (or inaction). Then we will truly be professionals.”

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This paper provides an interesting insgiht about Professional Ethics in GIS, contextualising both
historically and philsophically the URISA Code of Ethics. Ih the authors is perfectly right in referring to
Kant for the principle of always treating others as ends and not only means to an end, it is interesting to
notice that the URISA code of ethics is both consequentialist (it assesses the ethical value of an action
depending on its consequences) and based on a kantian principle – knowing that Kant’s moral is at the
extreme opposite of consequentialism : the ethical rule of never treating others as means to an end
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doesn’t depend on consequences it can have; on the contrary, in a well-known text about the right to lie,
Kant writes that even if a lie can save a friend’s life, we should not lie. The question of knowing whether
such a deontological approach may be relevant in GIS is unfortunately not treated by the author.

STYBLINSKA, M. (2006). The GIS Ethics: the Code of Ethics for GIS Practitioners. Spread of the
Knowledge (online) (3), www.wiinom.us.edu.pl/.../196-spread-the-knowledge?...the-code-of-
ethics-for-gis-practitioners.

Summary

Within ethical issues, a distinction is made between ethical symptoms, problems, dilemma and
conditions. Then is discussed the URISA Code of Ethics and its underlying philosophy. (STYBLINSKA,
2006)

Highlights

To the difference of (BLAKEMORE & LONGHORN, Identifying ethical and unethical activities in GIS,
2004) who considers rationality as the base to define ethics, (STYBLINSKA, 2006) proposes that an act
is considered to be “ethical” if it agrees with approved moral behaviour or norms in a specific society.
She then suggests the helpful distinction between ethical symptoms (the evidence of fundamental
conflicts within a community), ethical problems (situations raising an opportunity for choice where
there is a perceived gap between a vision of what is right and good and the current reality of the
situation provided), ethical dilemma (situation demanding a choice between two or more options that
are equally desirable or undesirable) and ethical conditions (situations that are fundamentally wrong
and/or bad, which cannot be changed at all, or, if they can be changed, cannot be changed ethically).
After listing some important issues (about social implications, professional integrity, competency and
professional development, professional relations and responsibility) that should be stressed on in a GIS
Code of Ethics, she examines the URISA Code of Ethics. She reminds, like (CRAIG, 2004), that this
code is based on the Kantian principle of always treating others with respect, and makes the same error
confounding deontological view like Kant’s with consequentialist ethics like the URISA Code. She then
distinguishes between the 4 kind of ethics developed in the URISA Code, which are the Virtue Ethics
(take persons who exemplify morality as one’s own guide), Utilitarianism (attempt to maximize the
happiness of everyone affected and minimize the potential harm), Kantianism (only follow maxims of
conduct that everyone else could adopt) and Deontology (always treat other persons as ends, never
merely as means). In this quick typology, proposed by URISA itself, there is actually a confusion of
levels: Kantianism is a part of deontology and cannot be opposed to it. As for Utilitarianism, it is a part of
Consequentialism, which is the right ethics to oppose to Deontology. (STYBLINSKA, 2006) then
withdraws some of the URISA Code major ethical recommendations, which comes from Obligations to
society, Obligations to Employers and Founders, Obligations to Colleagues and the Profession, and
Obligations to Individuals in Society.
Her last sentence “GIS professionals tend to think of themselves as competent people whose main
concern is keeping current in the technology. We need to admit that we are part of the social world and
reflect on the implications of our actions (or inaction). Then we will truly be professionals.” is weirdly
similar to (CRAIG, 2004)’s conclusion. Few doubt is then permitted, her paper being the latest, she only
plagiarized, without quoting her sources, (CRAIG, 2004) and URISA Code of Ethics, repeating the same
mistakes.
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To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line

The only conceptual contribution of this paper would be the distinction between Ethical symptoms,
problems, dilemma and conditions, as well as the awareness that an ethical conduct is said so in a
specific society and not absolutely, as (BLAKEMORE & LONGHORN, Identifying ethical and unethical
activities in GIS, 2004) kind of implied speaking of rationality. As for the rest, it repeats the philosophical
confusions already present in (CRAIG, 2004) and the URISA Code of Ethics.
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KAZDA, M. J., ROSSMANN BEEL, E., VILLEGAS, D., GOOD MARTINEZ, J., PATEL, N., & MIGALA, W. (2009).
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Municipality. Journal of Community Health , 34 (3), 210-215.
LAITURI, M. (2003). The Issue of Access: An Assessment Guide for Evaluating Public Participation Geographic
Information Science Case Studies. Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, URISA
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The University of Chicago Press.
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ROTH, R. E. (2007). The use of remotely sensed imagery and GIS analysis for the automated detection of water
infiltration in residential structures. Middle States Geographer , 123-132.
SCANLAN, M. (2001). Informational privacy and moral values. Ethics and Information Technology , 3, 3-12.
SIEBER, R. (2006). Public participation geographic information systems: A literature review and framework.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 96, 491–507.
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(online) (3), www.wiinom.us.edu.pl/.../196-spread-the-knowledge?...the-code-of-ethics-for-gis-practitioners.
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Appendix 2: Selected annotated bibliography on the ethical dimensions of ICTs


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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 53

IACA Documentary Materials – Fonds Documentaire IACA:


The purpose of IACA’s Documentary Materials is to share documentary sources that are produced in the course of
IACA’s project. Their purpose does not call for comprehensiveness, but call for rigor and permanent updating. The
annotation/summary should not be misconstrued as alternatives to the reading of the material that is presented. These
annotations/summaries should serve as an encouragement to read part of the source material that is presented.
As these literature reviews are “work in progress” they must always be considered as draft versions.

Fanny Verrax, PhD candidate, is a member of the IACA team within the Centre d’Economie et d’Ethique
pour l’Environnement et le Développement (C3ED).
Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, Professor of Economics, is a member of the IACA team within the Centre
d’économie et d’éthique pour l’Environnement e le Développement (C3ED).
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Contents
General introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 55
Metatheoretical and Methodological Concerns...................................................................................................... 56
JOHNSON, D. G. (2004). Computer Ethics. In L. FLORIDI, Philosophy of Computing and
Information (pp. 65-74). Cambridge: Blackwell Publishing. ........................................................... 56
SCHULTZ, R. A. (2005). Ethical Issues in Information Technology. In Contemporary Issues in
Ethics and Information Technology (pp. 1-11). Hershey, PA: IRM Press. ..................................... 57
FLORIDI, L., & SANDERS, J. (2002). Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics.
Ethics and Information Technology , 4, 1-9. .................................................................................. 59
CAPURRO, R. (2006). Towards an ontological foundation of information ethics. Ethics and
Information Technology , 8 (4), 175-186........................................................................................ 61
FLORIDI, L. (2003). Two Approaches to the Philosophy of Information. (Kluwer Academic
Publishers, Éd.) Minds and Machines , 13, 459-469. .................................................................... 63
MOOR, J. H. (2008). Why We Need Better Ethics for Emerging Technologies? In J. VAN DEN
HOVEN, & J. WECKERT, Information Technology and Moral Philosophy (pp. 26-39). Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ......................................................................................................... 64
Traditional and Emerging Ethical issues................................................................................................................ 67
The Pioneers ..................................................................................................................................................... 67
BYNUM, T. W. (1982, January 12). A discipline in its infancy. Dallas Morning News ................... 67
MASON, R. O. (1986). Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age. MIS Quarterly , 10 (1), 5-12. . 68
Privacy within the PAPA Approach ................................................................................................................... 70
SCANLAN, M. (2001). Informational privacy and moral values. Ethics and Information Technology
, 3, 3-12. ........................................................................................................................................ 70
DODIG-CRNKOVIC, G., & HORNIAK, V. (2006). Togetherness and respect: ethical concerns of
privacy in Global Web Societies. (Springer, Ed.) AI&Society: Knowledge, Culture and
Communication , 20, 372-383. ...................................................................................................... 71
Some alternative visions ................................................................................................................................... 74
LYON, D. (2001). Facing the Future: Seeking Ethics for Everyday Surveillance. Ethics and
Information Technology , 3, 171-181. ............................................................................................ 74
FALLIS, D. (2004). Epistemic Value Theory and Information Ethics. (K. A. Publishers, Ed.) Minds
and Machines , 14, 101-117. ......................................................................................................... 75
FLORIDI, L. (2006). Information technologies and the tragedy of Good Will. (Springer, Ed.) Ethics
and Information Technology , 8, 253-262. ..................................................................................... 78
References ............................................................................................................................................................ 81
Internet Resources ................................................................................................................................................ 83
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General introduction
Most of the papers reviewed here seem to use indistinctly Information Ethics or Computer Ethics. One
of the reasons why we have not distinguished either between them, is that the so-called Information
Revolution is mainly due to computer development. Indeed, if the world produces every year about 5
exabytes of new information, about 90% of it is magnetic, that is, mainly, is stored in hard disks (LYMAN
& VARIAN, 2003). Thus most of our data come from or go into computers and a distinction between
Computer Ethics and Information Ethics does not seem relevant, or as (JOHNSON, 2004, p. 69) puts it:
“Computer Ethics can be thought of as the field that examines ethical issues distinctive to “an
information society”.”
According to (JOHNSON, 2004), there are three ways of organizing ethical issues : based on the type of
technology, the sector in which the technology is used, or according to ethical concepts or themes.
Following this last approach, a distinction is made between the metatheoretical or methodological
concerns, and the identification and analysis of traditional and emerging issues. (JOHNSON, 2004) can
be read as a good introduction to the field of Information and Computer Ethics, since it treats both
metatheoretical concerns and properly-speaking ethical issues.
For the very definition of an ethical issue and its specificity in link with Information Technology, one can
see (SCHULTZ, 2005). Other metatheoretical or methodological concerns are expressed in many
papers: (FLORIDI & SANDERS, Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics, 2002) and
(CAPURRO, 2006) disagree on what is the central question of Information Ethics: for the first one it
would be: ‘‘What is good for an information entity and the infosphere in general?’’ whereas for
(CAPURRO, 2006) it is ‘‘What is good for our bodily being-in-the-world with others in particular?’’.
(FLORIDI L. , Two Approaches to the Philosophy of Information, 2003), it distinguishes between two
approaches in Philosophy of Information: the analytic approach and the metaphysical approach, which
can both complement each other as a way of improving ethics. As for (MOOR J. H., 2008) he makes
three propositions to improve ethics in order to match the needs of Emerging Technologies : a constant
vigilance, a multidisciplinary approach, and more sophisticated ethical analyses. We will see precisely
that going beyond traditional issues, represented by the PAPA acronym, offers a wide range of
possibilities.
Indeed, two pioneer papers in the field of analysis of traditional and emerging ethical issues, are
(BYNUM, A discipline in its infancy, 1982) and (MASON R. O., 1986), which focus for the first one on
issues such as computer crime, privacy, and decision making, and for the second one on what is called
the “PAPA” approach: Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Accessibility. To get more insight into this
approach, we have selected two papers about the privacy issue: (SCANLAN, 2001) and (DODIG-
CRNKOVIC & HORNIAK, 2006). We indeed wanted to show that this approach is still “alive”, since it
has been quite important in the field of Information Technology and seems highly relevant for an
application to the GIS line. But we also wanted to give insight into more alternative visions, more
“sophisticated ethical analyses, with (LYON, Facing the Future: Seeking Ethics for Everyday
Surveillance, 2001)’s use of “dataveillance” and “personhood” concepts as means to exit the privacy
dilemma, (FALLIS, 2004)’s focus on epistemological aspects of ethical issues, and (FLORIDI L. ,
Information technologies and the tragedy of Good Will, 2006)’s concern for “the Tragedy of Good Will”.
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Metatheoretical and Methodological Concerns
JOHNSON, D. G. (2004). Computer Ethics. In L. FLORIDI, Philosophy of Computing and
Information (pp. 65-74). Cambridge: Blackwell Publishing.

Summary
(JOHNSON, 2004) chooses “the third approach” in Computer Ethics: she intents organizing ethical
issues not according to the type of technology, neither to the sector in which the technology is used, but
according to ethical concepts or themes that persist across type of technology and sectors. She then
divides the issues into two broad categories : metatheoretical and methodological issues on one hand,
traditional and emerging issues on the other hand. After insisting on the fact that Information Ethics is
more than applied ethics for professionals, she focuses on several issues like privacy and cybercrime.

Highlights
Metatheoretical and Methodological Issues: (MOOR J. , 1985) insisted on the policy vacuums
created by technology as it allows us to do new things and to do things we could do before but in new
ways. Using action theory, the change can be characterized as a change in the possible act tokens o an
act type, and those act tokens have properties that are distinct from other tokens of the same act type.
Computer Technology is able to turn very simple movements into very powerful actions, eg. in hacker
case. “Recognizing the intimate connection between technology and human action is important for
stopping the deflection of human responsibility in technology-instrumented activities, especially when
something goes wrong. Hence, the hacker cannot avoid responsibility for launching a virus on grounds
that he simply moved his fingers while sitting in his home. Technology does nothing independent of
human initiative; though, of course, sometimes human beings cannot foresee what it is they are
doing with technology.” So, Technology and Ethics are connected insofar as computers make it
possible for humans to do things they couldn’t do before and to do things they could do before but in
new ways, and those changes often have moral significance.
Applied and Synthetic Ethics: To use action theory and to say that computer technology creates new
tokens of an act type may lead to categorize computer ethics as a branch of applied or practical ethics,
but it involves much more than this. (BREY, Disclosive Computer Ethics, 2000) argues that the applied
ethics model emphasizes controversial issues for which the ethical component is transparent, whereas
in the field of Computer Ethics, there are many nontransparent issues, that are not so easily recognized.
“Analysis must be done to “disclose” and make visible the values at stake in the design and use of
computer technology.”
Traditional and Emerging Issues: (JOHNSON, 2004) focuses here on issues related to professional
ethics, privacy, cybercrime and abuse, virtual reality, and general characteristics of the Internet.
(GOTTERBARN, Computer Ethics: Responsibility Regained, 1991) has gone so far as to argue that the
central task of the field of computer ethics is to work out issues of professional ethics for computer
professionals. According to (JOHNSON, 2004), this provocative position is far from being right: privacy
and property issues for instance are for all citizens and not just computer professionals. So “computer
experts face many complex and distinctive issues, but these are only a subset of he ethical issues
surrounding Computer and Information Technology. The main fear about privacy is that an “information
society” became a “surveillance society”, with as a possible consequence the fact that human beings,
feeling monitored and recorded, would change their behavior to conform to norms for fear of negative
consequences. “If this were to happen to a significant extent, it might incapacitate individuals in acting
freely and thinking critically – capacities necessary to realize democracy. In this respect, the privacy
issues around computer technology go to the heart of freedom and democracy.” Cybercrime has
intrigued philosophers in particular because the “hacker culture” can be seen as an alternative vision of
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how computer technology might be developed and used. Indeed, hackers and crackers often defend
their behavior by arguing for a much more open system of computing with a freer flow of information.
Conceptually, some have wondered whether there is a difference between familiar crimes such as theft
or harassment and parallel crimes done using computers. One obvious difference in cybertheft is that
the thief does not deprive the owner of the use of the property. It is still a current task for ethicists to
think about cybercrimes and their appropriate punishment. More or less the same thing is said about
Internet issues and Virtual Reality: ethicist will have to ferret out changes and address the policy
vacuums they create, as well as to analyse what virtual actions means and what accountability
individuals bear for their virtual actions.
Conclusion: On one hand, since computers and Information technology are likely to continue to evolve,
new issues, are likely to arise. On the other hand, as we become more and more accustomed to acting
with and through computers, the difference between “ethics” and “computer ethics” may well disappear.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
First of all, (JOHNSON, 2004) suggests three ways of organizing ethical issues and justifies her own
approach, according to ethical concerns or themes that persist through different types of technology and
sectors. So this is a question we might want to ask within the GIS line: do we want to focus on ethical
issues specific to a particular technology, but I guess GIS does not use just one technology, or do we
prefer to focus on the sector in which this technology is applied (in GIS case: health, community
planning, politics, militar, etc.), or think about persitant ethical concerns which are, in some way,
universal within Information Ethics? Another question we should ask ourselves is if we want to do only
applied ethics, that is, following (GOTTERBARN, Computer Ethics: Responsibility Regained, 1991),
ethics that would just be dedicated to GIS practicionners, or if we want a more synthetic, disclosive
ethics.
SCHULTZ, R. A. (2005). Ethical Issues in Information Technology. In Contemporary Issues in
Ethics and Information Technology (pp. 1-11). Hershey, PA: IRM Press.

Summary
“Most discussions of ethics and information technology focus on issues of professional ethics and
issues of privacy and security. Certainly these are important issues, But so are issues such as the
offshoring of Information Technology (IT) jobs or the value of IT as a whole. But are they ethical issues,
business issues, or economic issues?” In this introductory chapter, (SCHULTZ, 2005) asks 3 questions
in order to determine the link between Ethical Issues and IT: “What makes an issue an ethical issue?”,
“What features of Information Technology create new ethical issues?” And “Who is to say what is right
and wrong?”. It is argued finally that only a theoretical approach with deep principles can give us the
flexibility to deal with our new ethical environment.

Highlights
What makes an issue an ethical issue? Ethics comes from the Greek ethike which means character,
and we still think this way when our concern is good reputation. Another sense of ethics is a more
inclusive one for concerns also referred to by “morality”, “value”, and “justice”. To understand what is at
stake here, a preliminary look is given at 2 issues concerning IT that may not seem to be ethical issues:
the offshoring of IT jobs and the value of IT as a whole. The real question is “why is it important that we
treat an issue as an ethical issue? The basic idea is that ethical problems arise because they involve
conflicts between different interests that cannot be resolved on the level of interests alone. Higher level
principles need to be applied.” In the case of the offshoring of IT jobs, there are at least 3 sets of
conflicting interests: the corporations who save large amounts of money on labor costs; the offshore
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workers who receive better salaries in their home economies; and the United States workers who lose
their jobs. Each of these parties has important considerations involving their own interests. But even
when all self-interest considerations are taken into account, there remains an ethical issue, an issue of
justice. And behind this question is a major theoretical question: what is justice?

What features of Information Technology create new ethical issues? : A definition of IT is given,
taken from whatis.com (www.whatis.techtarget.com): “IT (Information Technology) is all forms of
technology used to create, store, exchange, and use information in its various forms (business data,
voice conversations, still images, motion pictures, multimedia presentations, and other forms, including
those not yet conceived).” “What we can expect is that new uses will be built on four basic features of
information technology: (i) Speed of information processing (ii) Unlimited size of information storage
capacity (iii) Availability of information at any location (connectivity) (iv) Easy reproduction of digital
information.”
“The ethical question is whether this is merely an extension of friends swapping copies (perfectly
ethical) or whether it is an illegal (and unethical) violation of copyright. An entirely new method of
sharing copies seems to require a rethinking of ethical principles.” Since “although the ethical concepts
of fraud and deceit may be familiar, their application in online contexts may not be familiar at all.”

Who is to say what is right and wrong?: “My view of ethics as higher level principles settling conflicts
of interest can provide a basis for saying what is right and wrong. Ethical principles themselves can
conflict, and it requires higher level principles to settle those conflicts.” (SCHULTZ, 2005) then refers to
social psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of different levels of ethical principles. According
to this theory, people move to a different stage, and higher level of principle, precisely because they
encounter irresolvable conflicts of principles at lower levels.
• Stage One: Punishment and obedience
• Stage Two: Interests of only oneself
• Stage Three: Conformity for social approval
• Stage Four: Law and order
• Stage Five: Social contract based on utility
• Stage Six: Universal principles
A person’s development can stop at any stage of this scale, but we need to move beyond social
approval (stage 3) as the basis for ethical judgements.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
The main originality of (SCHULTZ, 2005) is to consider ethical approach as a way of resolving conflicts
that arise in the context of IT, and not as the source of conflicts. The Kohlberg’s scale of ethical
principles may be useful in order in order to map ethical concerns we are faced to. Moreover, it implies
that the concern about good reputation, which is undoubtfully at the very base of many firms and
organization’s ethical concerns, is at a “under-ethical” level, which is the stage 3 on Kohlberg’s scale. Of
course, this scale ought to be discussed and maybe modified in order to be fully relevant within the GIS
line, in particular the fact that conformity to law and order would be somehow and better or at least
represent a superior ethical principle that the concern for good reputation. The scale represent anyway
a good entry point to discuss ethical principles in the context of Information Technology.
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FLORIDI, L., & SANDERS, J. (2002). Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics.
Ethics and Information Technology , 4, 1-9.

Summary
“The paper provides a critical review of the debate on the foundations of Computer Ethics (CE).
Starting from a discussion of Moor’s classic interpretation of the need for CE caused by a policy and
conceptual vacuum, five positions in the literature are identified and discussed: the “no resolution
approach” [NA], according to which CE can have no foundation; the professional approach [PA],
according to which CE is solely a professional ethics; the radical approach [RA], according to which
CE deals with absolutely unique issues, in need of a unique approach; the conservative approach
[CA], according to which CE is only a particular applied ethics, discussing new species of traditional
moral issues; and the innovative approach [IA], according to which theoretical CE can expand the
metaethical discourse with a substantially new perspective. In the course of the analysis, it is argued
that, although CE issues are not uncontroversially unique, they are sufficiently novel to render
inadequate the adoption of standard macroethics, such as Utilitarianism and Deontologism, as the
foundation of CE and hence to prompt the search for a robust ethical theory. Information Ethics (IE) is
proposed for that theory, as the satisfactory foundation for CE. IE is characterised as a biologically
unbiased extension of environmental ethics, based on the concepts of information
object/infosphere/entropy rather than life/ecosystem/pain. In light of the discussion provided in this
paper, it is suggested that CE is worthy of independent study because it requires its own application-
specific knowledge and is capable of supporting a methodological foundation, IE.” (FLORIDI &
SANDERS, 2002)

Highlights
Introduction: from bottom-up to top-down approach in Computer Ethics
Born with the ICT’s development, CE carries out an extended and intensive study of individual cases,
highly linked to real-world issues. Its aim is “to reach decisions based on principled choices and
defensible ethical criteria”, and since the 70’s, CE focus has moved from problem analysis to tactical
solutions resulting. But the constant risk of this bottom-up procedure has remained the spreading of
casuistic approaches to ethical problems. That’s why CE has further combined tactical solutions with
more strategic and global analysis. An essential part of this top-down development has been the
foundationalist debate, as a metatheoretical reflection on the nature and justification of CE and its
relation with the broader context of metaethical theories. The central issue for the foundationalist debate
is then: “Can CE amount to a coherent and cohesive discipline, rather than a more or less
heterogeneous and random collection of ICT-related ethical problems, applied analyses and
practical solutions?” The different answers to this question draw 5 approaches, from the NA to the IA
– the order in the list being both historical and logical.

The No-Resolution Approach (NA): CE as not a real discipline


The expression “no resolution view” is introduced in (GOTTERBARN, Computer Ethics: Responsibility
Regained, 1991) about Donn Parker’s approach. According to the NA, CE problems represent
unsolvable dilemma and CE is itself a pointless exercise, having no conceptual foundation. NA’s
emphasis on proscribed activities would be characteristic of “pop ethics”, that is to say unsystematic
and heterogeneous collections of dramatic stories, discussed in order to raise ethical questions. Its goal
is largely negative, to sensitise people to the fact that computer technology has social and ethical
consequences and is not neutral. If empirically, the evolution of CE has proved NA to be unnecessarily
pessimistic, it also has some advantages. First, it is necessary to recognize that some sensitisation to
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ethical problems is an important preliminary to CE. “There is little point in providing a solution to
someone unaware of the problem, particularly when the solution is not simple.” Secondly, the variety of
concerns, put in evidence by the heterogeneous collections of case studies, is vital to CE. Finally,
methodologically speaking, NA provides a useful point of reference by representing an ideal lowest
bound for the foundationalist debate. Any other approach can be seen as starting from the assumption
that NA should be avoided, if possible. Other positions can then be ranked depending on their distance
from NA.

The Professional Approach (PA): CE is a methodology


PA argues that there is no deep theoretical difference between CE and other professional ethics, only a
variety of pedagogical contexts. CE should then be taught in order to introduce students to the
responsibilities of their profession, develop some proactive skills to reduce the likelihood of future ethical
problems, teach the laws related to a particular profession to avoid malpractice suits, etc.
(GOTTERBARN, The Use and Abuse of Computer Ethics, 1992). PA’s goals are pedagogical and not
metaethicals; if its advantages (it stresses the vital importance of CE education and defends a realistic
pedagogical attitude pragmatically useful) and results (elaboration and adoption of usage regulations
and codes of conduct in ICT contexts) are important, it ought not be interpreted as the only correct way
to understand the whole CE field (as wanted by strong PA), for at least 3 reasons: 1/ it would mean
disregard the fact that CE problems (like privacy, security, reliability, etc.) are not specific to CE and
permeate contemporary life. 2/ Interpreting PA as providing a conceptual foundation for CE is to commit
a mistake of levels; theoretical CE underpins PA and requires a different approach from it. 3/
“Understanding CE as just professional ethics, not in need of any further conceptual foundation, means
running the risk of being at best critical but naive, and at worst dogmatic and conservative”.
Among the fundamental questions that PA does not mean to address are : “Why does ICT raise moral
issues? Are CE issues unique? Or are they just moral issues that happen to involve ICT? What is the
contribution of CE to the ethical discourse?, etc. The different answers to these questions have
historically developed along 2 lines, which constitute the “uniqueness debate”. This has aimed to
determine whether the moral issues confronting CE are unique, and hence whether CE should be
developed as an independent field of research. The debate arises from 2 different interpretations of the
policy vacuum problem, one more radical, the other more conservative.

The Radical Approach (RA): CE as a unique discipline


According to RA, the presence of a policy and conceptual vacuum indicates that CE deals with
absolutely unique issues, in need of a completely new approach: “Like James Moor, I believe computers
are special technology and raise special ethical issues, hence that computer ethics deserves special
status.” (MANER, 1999). The principal advantage of RA is that it counteracts the risk run by NA of
under-evaluating CE problems; nevertheless, RA is confronted to several problems avoided by CA.

The Conservative Approach (CA): CE as applied ethics


CA defends that classic macro-ethics are sufficient to cope with the policy vacuum, it recognizes that
certain ethical issues are transformed by the use of ICT, but it argues that they represent only new
species of traditional moral issues (it’s the evolutionary metaphor). They are not and cannot be a
source of a new macro-ethical theory. CE appears then as a micro-ethics, that is a practical, field-
dependant, applied and professional ethics. CA benefits all the advantages associated with a strong
theoretical position but still have to face some shortcomings – one of them being that lacking a clear
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macro-ethical commitment, CA cannot provide an explicit methodology either – the IA approach
successfully avoids.

The Innovative Approach (IA): Information Ethics as the foundation of CE


The IA approach, wanted by T.W. Bynum, is built on CA’s advantages but it avoids its shortcomings by
rejecting the conservative restriction that ICT ethical issues represent only new species of traditional
moral issues. According to IA, CE problems suggest that the monopoly exercised by standard macro-
ethics in theoretical CE is unjustified. “Although the novelty of CE is not so dramatic as to require the
development of an utterly new, separate and unrelated discipline, it certainly shows the limits of
traditional approaches to the ethical discourse, and encourages a fruitful modification in the meta-
theoretical perspective.” : this is when arrives Information Ethics (IE), “understood as the theoretical
foundation of applied CE, is a non-standard, environmental macro-ethics, patient-oriented and
ontocentric, based on the concepts of information object/infosphere/entropy rather than
life/ecosystem/pain.” A non-standard macro-ethics place the receiver of the action at the centre of the
ethical discourse, and displace its source to its periphery. IE goes further than any existing ethics which
are usually biocentric, since the ethical question asked by IE is: “What is good for an information
entity and the infosphere in general?” It is admitted that IE places the debate at a level of abstraction
too philosophical to make it of any direct utility for immediate needs, but it is argued that it provides the
conceptual grounds that can guide problem-solving procedures in CE.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
This paper can be useful for the GIS line as well as for the ICT line, and is so as 3 levels. First of all, the
5 identified approaches can be used as relevant categories for a further mapping of ethical positions in
any field we are interested in. Second of all, the questions asked within the “uniqueness debate” are
perfectly transposable to the GIS field. Finally, and methodologically speaking, it can be highly relevant
for the Technolife project to study how an already existing macro-ethics, like Information Ethics, can be
used as a conceptual ground for a specific field, here Computer Ethics. Even if it is nothing but possible
that the same macro-ethics could be fruitfully used as a ground for solving ethical problem in the GIS
line, the most important is in the process of the “innovative approach”.

CAPURRO, R. (2006). Towards an ontological foundation of information ethics. Ethics and


Information Technology , 8 (4), 175-186.

Summary
“The paper presents, firstly, a brief review of the long history of information ethics beginning with the
Greek concept of parrhesia or freedom of speech as analyzed by Michel Foucault. The recent concept
of information ethics is related particularly to problems which arose in the last century with the
development of computer technology and the internet. A broader concept of information ethics as
dealing with the digital reconstruction of all possible phenomena leads to questions relating to digital
ontology. Following Heidegger’s conception of the relation between ontology and metaphysics, the
author argues that ontology has to do with Being itself and not just with the Being of beings which is the
matter of metaphysics. The primary aim of an ontological foundation of information ethics is to question
the metaphysical ambitions of digital ontology understood as today’s pervading understanding of Being.
The author analyzes some challenges of digital technology, particularly with regard to the moral status
of digital agents. The author argues that information ethics does not only deal with ethical questions
relating to the infosphere. This view is contrasted with arguments presented by Luciano Floridi on the
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foundation of information ethics as well as on the moral status of digital agents. It is argued that a
reductionist view of the human body as digital data overlooks the limits of digital ontology and gives up
one basis for ethical orientation. Finally issues related to the digital divide as well as to intercultural
aspects of information ethics are explored – and long and short-term agendas for appropriate responses
are presented.” (CAPURRO, 2006)

Highlights
Information Ethics long and short history: Reminding us that Information Ethic long history could
go back to the greek concept of parrhesia or “freedom of speech”, R. Capurro also quotes Michel
Foucault ‘s thesis about dialogue as a major parrhesiastic technique in opposition to a long rhetorical
and sophistical speech. Parrhesia as the personal attitude of the good citizen as truth-teller is essential
to Athenian democracy, and ““to tell the truth” becomes a moral imperative under particular conditions.”
The Western tradition of Information Ethics was characterized by 2 basic ideas, freedom of speech and
freedom of printed work, with special emphasis on freedom of the press, until a third one arises with the
age of electronic communication, which is freedom of access, or the right to communicate within a
digital environment. With this third idea begins the short history of Information Ethics. It first arises as a
problematization of behavioral norms of communication in societies shaped by mass media. In a
narrower sense, Information Ethics deals with ethical questions related to the Internet. The question is
then: “What do truth telling or parrhesia means in this new situation? We ask this question when we
debate for instance about privacy. What can I say to whom? In which medium?”

An alternative view of Information Ethics’ Central Question: The ethical question asked by
information ethics is not just, as Floridi and Sanders state: ‘‘What is good for an information entity
and the infosphere in general?’’ (FLORIDI & SANDERS, Mapping the foundationalist debate in
computer ethics, 2002, p. 8) but: ‘‘What is good for our bodily being-in-the-world with others in
particular?’’ If it is true that we are not morally obliged to respect the digital being of SPAM mails as we
consider them a morally evil action against the infosphere, we should not in any case restrict information
ethics to questions of the infosphere. Indeed, Information Ethics addresses questions at the intersection
of the infosphere with the ecological, political, economic, and cultural spheres.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
It is true that the paper’s numerous lines dedicated to the distinction between ontology and metaphysics
in a Heideggerian view are not directly relevant for us; still, the paper presents at least 3 points that
could be fruitfully used in the GIS line., if not in the ICT one.
First of all, the greek concept of parrhesia could be highly useful in the field of PPGIS: the ethical issues
of reliability and quality of information are indeed directly linked to the moral imperative of telling the
truth. Second of all, the re-formulation of Information Ethics main question from (FLORIDI & SANDERS,
Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics, 2002) infosphere perspective to a more
ontological and being-based view also has incontestable benefits for GIS line: if we don’t necessarily
have to choose one approach, at least we should know which question we are trying to answer. At last
but not least, the paper also reminds us of Michael Walzer’s distinction between “thick morality” (when
moral arguments are rooted or located in a culture) and “thin morality” (when they are disembodied)
(WALZER, 1994). This should lead us to wonder: do we want a universal moral code for GIS
practitioners, and then take the risk of creating a “thin morality” or do we prefer to adapt existing exiting
ethical values to make them fit with GIS issues? Unless we consider GIS as a specific culture capable of
developing its own “thick morality”…
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FLORIDI, L. (2003). Two Approaches to the Philosophy of Information. (Kluwer Academic
Publishers, Éd.) Minds and Machines , 13, 459-469.

Summary
On the occasion of a special issue of Minds and Machines, the philosopher Luciano Floridi gives an
outline of the two approaches which exist in the field of Philosophy of Information: the analytic
approach, which sees Philosophy of Information as the continuation of conceptual analysis by other
means, and the metaphysical approach, which considers it a constructionnist project. He then presents
breifly the papers composing this special issue. (FLORIDI, Two Approaches to the Philosophy of
Information, 2003)

Highlights
The Analytic Approach: Following Hegel’s view that “philosophers tend to arrive on the scene of the
crime after things have gone badly wrong, or at least wrong enough to demand their attention”, this
approach admits 2 implications: first, that the source of philosophical activity is fully externalized,
second that philosophy develops depending on how successfully it interacts with the culture within
which it exists. The argument goes then as following : today we need a philosophy of information,
understood simply as a normal development in the history of philosophy (following Kuhn’s model).
That’s the optimistic view of the analytic approach. A more cynical version of this analytic approach,
usually associated with the early Wittgenstein and Heidegger, is based on the simplistic logic of the cui
prodest: philosophers generate the very mess they appoint themselves to clean up, and make a living
thereby. Both implications of this cynical view are completely at the opposite of those seen before: the
philosophical activity does not so much interact, and since it’s internal, philosophers have no interest in
eradicating their own conceptual problem, which would put them out of business. Both these
interpretations of the analytic approach agree on describing philosophy’s positive mission as a process
of semantic exploration and policing. Both allow the development of Philosophy of Information as the
next step to be taken within the analytic tradition. Those are the implications that a more metaphysical
approach of Philosophy of Information does not necessarily admits.
The Metaphysical Approach: Reading the history of contemporary philosophy as “the emergence of
humanity as the demiurgic Ego”, and seeing this demiurgic turn as “the watershed between our time and
the past”, philosophy of information can be presented as “the study of the informational activities that
make possible the construction, conceptualization, semanticization, and finally the moral stewardship of
reality, both natural and artificial.” Looking at Philosophy of Information as a complete “demiurgology”, it
can be seen as an engineering vocation. “The metaphysical approach is metaphorically vertical, for it is
clearly foundationalist. It presents PI as the convergence of several modern threads: the death of god,
the demiurgic transformation of the I; the scientific revolution; increasing moral responsibility, shared by
humanity, towards the way reality is and could be; and the informational turn.”
Both approaches are normative and perfectly compatible; according to L. Floridi, they even complement
each other, like the philosopher-sentinels and the philosopher-rulers in Plato’s Republic.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
I guess the most important distinction for GIS line is not the one between metaphysical and analytic
approach, as much as the one between the optimistic version and the cynical version within the analytic
approach. Nevertheless, it seems important at least to be aware that any ethical issue raised in GIS line
will be definitely treated following the analytic approach, and not the metaphysical one, which kind of
answers many questions of the “uniqueness debate”. Then, taking into account the number of “special
courses”, formation seminars, and other florishing activities in the field of GIS ethics, it might not be
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useless to consider the cynical version of the analytic approach and ask ourselves if all the ethical
issues raised are external, like they seem to be, or if some are not somehow developed and amplified
by professional philosphers and ethicians as a way of making a living.
MOOR, J. H. (2008). Why We Need Better Ethics for Emerging Technologies? In J. VAN DEN
HOVEN, & J. WECKERT, Information Technology and Moral Philosophy (pp. 26-39). Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Summary
“The main argument of this paper is to establish that we are living in a period of technology that
promises dramatic changes and in a period of time in which it is not satisfactory to do ethics as
usual.” (MOOR J. H., 2008, p. 26) With the rapid developments in technology, particularly in genetics,
neuroscience, and nanotechnology, a new approach to ethics is required. He argues that the ‘logical
malleability’ of computers led to so-called policy vacuums that require careful ethical analysis to fill, and
extends this idea to the malleability of life (genetic technology), of material (nanotechnology), and of
mind (neurotechnology). This, in turn, leads to policy vacuums in these new areas, which, Moor argues,
require a new approach to ethics. The tripartite approach that he outlines involves first, seeing ethics as
ongoing and dynamic and not just something to be done after the technology has been developed;
second, as requiring much more collaboration between ethicists, scientists, and others; and third, as
requiring a more sophisticated ethical analysis.” (Abstract taken from Book’s Introduction).

Highlights
Technological Revolutions: “Technology” is ambiguous. We have to distinguish between a
technological paradigm, which is a set of concepts, theories and methods that characterize a kind of
technology, and a technological device which is a specific piece of technology. A technological
development occurs when either the technological paradigm or its instances are improved. And when
technological development has an enormous social impact, it becomes a technological revolution,
which proceeds through 3 stages: the introduction stage, the permeation stage (MOOR J. , 1985), and
the power stage. Of course, pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods exist, in which
technological development may still be made, but without proportional increasing of technology
significance. Thus we have a tripartite model, which, the author insists, ought not be confused with
Schumpeter’s one, since it is not aimed at explaining the nature and fate of capitalism but the nature of
open technological revolutions.

Table 4: Stages of an Open Technological Revolution (MOOR 2008)

For instance, cell phones and World Wide Web have reached the Power stage, and have a significant
social impact.
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Technological Revolutions and Ethics: Filling policy vacuums which exist within the frame of
technological revolutions is highly complex, above all when exists a conceptual muddle. Example is
given of “wardriving”, in which “we find ourselves torn among different conceptualizations, each of which
has some plausibility. Several ways of resolution are considered: one is to think through analogies to
determine how similar or dissimilar is the new situation compared to another situation for which does not
exist a policy vacuum; another approach is to consider the consequences of various policies that could
fill the vacuum. If we go back to the tripartite model, an important point is that “more people will be
involved, more technology will be used, and hence more policy vacuums and conceptual muddles will
arise as the revolution advances. Thus, the greater our ethical challenge will be during the last stage of
the revolution.”
Three Rapidly Developing Technologies: In this last section, (MOOR J. H., 2008) considers Genetic
Technology, Nanotechnology and Neurotechnology as 3 rapidly developing technological movements
and reminds that “although these technologies are not fully developed, it is not unreasonable to expect
that they will continue along a revolutionary path and bring with them an increasing cluster of new
ethical issues.” Their revolutionary potential lie first in their malleability, just as for Information
Technology. Indeed, (MOOR J. H., 2008) assigns to Information Technology logic malleability, to
Genetic Technology life malleability, to Nanotechnology material malleability and to Neurotechnology
mind malleability. Besides for malleability, the second reason for which these areas are good candidates
for being revolutionary is that these technologies tend to converge.
How to improve Ethics: 3 propositions are made to improve Ethics in order to match the needs of
emerging technologies:
1) Constant vigilance as the only sensible approach: Consider Ethics as dynamic and ongoing, and not
wait until the technology has been fully developed to start seeing the ethical issues it implies.
2) A multidisciplinary approach: by establishing better collaborations between ethicists, scientists, social
scientists and technologists.
3) More sophisticated Ethical Analyses: ethical theories themselves are often simplistic and do not give
much guidance to particular situations. Above all, we should go beyond the technological assessment in
terms of cost-benefice analysis.
(MOOR J. H., 2008) concludes this way: “At the very least, we need to do more to be more proactive
and less reactive in doing ethics. We need to learn about the technology as it is developing and to
project and assess possible consequences of its various applications. Only if we see the potential
revolutions coming, will we be motivated and prepared to decide which technologies to adopt and how
to use them. Otherwise, we leave ourselves vulnerable to a tsunami of technological change.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
Even if the emerging technologies considered at the end have nothing to do with GIS, most of the
conclusions drawn by (MOOR J. H., 2008) can be applied to GIS and more generally to information
technologies. A first important step is that (MOOR J. H., 2008) speaks explicitly against the
technophobian thesis of the autonomy of technology, which is seldom spoken out and thus rarely
fought: “I believe the outcome of technological development is not inevitable. We, at least collectively,
can affect our futures by choosing which technologies to have and which not to have, and by choosing
how technologies that we pursue will be used.” (MOOR J. H., 2008, p. 26) Then, the distinction
between technological paradigm and technological device might help us thinking GIS both as a science
and as a system, knowing where the ambiguity is. We might afterwards want to place GIS somewhere
within the tripartite model of technological revolution stages, and maybe distinguish between several
GIS for a more accurate classification. Moreover, an important implication of (MOOR J. H., 2008) for
people who try to think and many times forecast the ethical issues of GIS, is that ethical issues arise
mostly during the last stage of a technological revolution, the power stage, when technology paradigm
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and device are already well established. Then it is of the paramount importance to forecast quite early
the future ethical issues which will arise with any GIS development, before it reaches the power stage.
Finally, the 3 propositions to do better ethics in the context of emerging technologies might be applied to
any technology, including GIS.
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Traditional and Emerging Ethical issues


The Pioneers
BYNUM, T. W. (1982, January 12). A discipline in its infancy. Dallas Morning News

Summary
Terrell Ward Bynum is nowadays a well-recognized and famous philosopher in the field of Computer
and Information Ethics, who notably wrote (BYNUM, The Founation of Computer Ethics, 2000) and
(BYNUM, Ethical Challenges to Citizens of the ‘Automatic Age’: Norbert Wiener on the Information
Society, 2004). Here we review the very first paper he dedicated to the subject in 1982, in which he
develops his view on 3 broad areas of computer ethics: computer crime, privacy, responsibility and
decision making.

Highlights
Computer Crime: (BYNUM, 1982) argues that even if the vast majority of crimes studied by computer
ethics did not come into existence with computers (embezzlement, sabotage, fraud, etc. have existed
for ever), “in many cases, though, computers have tempted the would-be criminal with powers he could
only dream of in the past”. Finally, even when the culprit is caught, convictions are hard to secure and
penalties have been extremely light.
Privacy: Many questions are asked about how much information about personal data should any
organization be permitted to compile on different stakeholders. The major danger considered is the one
of an “unscrupulous person” who would gain access to the files of doctors, banks, insurance companies
and so on: “the result could be powerful tools for harassment, blackmail, repression, political control, to
name but a few possibilities.” Another ethical question raised is: “Does anyone have the right to bury the
truth so effectively that it can never be known again?”
Decision Making: Given the fact that “computer errors” are nothing but human errors, and taking into
account that computer systems are becoming more and more complex and take more and more
decisions, it can become a major problem, both practical and theoretical to decide who is responsible or
liable for the proper functioning of the system: “If an elderly couple freezes to death in their home
because an electric company’s computer has issued a cutoff order, who is responsible?”
(BYNUM, A discipline in its infancy, 1982) concludes quoting a few authors and initiatives which try to
find solutions to those issues and others in the field of computer ethics, and he announces very
prophetically that all these represent “the early stages of a discipline that will grow rapidly in the next few
years.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
This early paper in the field of Computer Ethics can allow us to follow the evolution of ethical issues
considered across time. Thus, we notice that Privacy has been there from the very beginning and still is
one of the major ethical issues in Information Ethics, while Computer Crime doesn’t seem to be much of
an issue today, maybe because computer security has made many progresses, but so have the hackers
and other pirates, so a more plausible explanation would be that it is still an issue, but which escaped
the field of Information Ethics to be treated on a more technical level by computer security realm.
Another interesting point in (BYNUM, A discipline in its infancy, 1982) is the awareness of the incentive
power of technology – here in the context of Computer Crime, but which can be broaden to many fields,
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and which constitutes a true, although very little spoken about, ethical issue, also valid in the GIS field:
the one of the human conscience and will towards incentive technologies.
MASON, R. O. (1986). Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age. MIS Quarterly , 10 (1), 5-12.

Summary
In our information society, where “information is the means through which the mind expands and
increases its capacity to achieve its goals”, forming the intellectual capital “from which human beings
craft their lives and secure dignity”, this intellectual capital is being vulnerable in many ways. “The social
contract among people in the information age must deal with these threats to human dignity.” The
ethical issues involved are many, (MASON R. O., 1986) focuses on four, which may be summarized by
the acronym PAPA: Privacy, Accuracy, Property, Accessibility.

Highlights
Privacy: Two forces are said to threaten privacy, the growth of information technology, and the
increased value of information in decision making. Different case studies are presented, in which the
danger arises mostly from merging current databases into one centralized data bank, what (MASON R.
O., 1986) calls “the threat of exposure by minute description”. In one of the examples, opposing Florida
to UCLA, “the State argued that the value of the information to the administrators was greater than any
possible indignities suffered by the students [who were being monitored] and others”. But he also
quotes a 1966 speech made by Frank Horton, then Representative of the state of New York, who
speaks out against centralized government database saying: “one of the most practical of our
present safeguards of privacy is the fragmented nature of present information. […] A central data
bank removes completely this safeguard.” Another danger of centralized database is the repercussion
and amplification of possible mistakes, which leads to the issue of accuracy.
Accuracy: Basing himself on some statistics (over 4% of the stolen vehicles entries in the National
Crime Information Center are in error) and on 2 isolated special cases of information failure, one about a
Bank mistake saying that a man, Louis Marches, hadn’t made his current house payment although he
had, another about a forecast error which caused a man’s death, Gary Browns’, because of a sea
hurricane unpredicted, (MASON R. O., 1986) remarks: “We run the risk of creating Gary Browns and
Louis Marches every time we design information systems and place information in databases which
might be used to make decisions. So it is our responsibility to be vigilant in the pursuit of accuracy in
information. Today we are producing so much information about so many people and their
activities that our exposure to problems of inaccuracy is enormous.”
Property: (MASON R. O., 1986) focuses on expert systems to ask: “Is this exchange of property
[between the human experts who provide the information and those who own the hardware and
software] warranted?”. “How is the contributor of his knowledge to be compensated?” A parallel is made
with the steam-energy industrial society and Jacquard’s weaving looms, in which weavers suffered
unemployment and degradation. Another comparison is made between the traditional pasture as a
“common” and the bandwidth as a common, which leads to the questions: “How will the limited resource
of bandwidth be allocated? Who will have access?”
Access: In an Information Society, a citizen must possess at least 3 things to be “literate”: 1/ one must
have the intellectual skills to deal with information (such as reading, writing, reasoning and calculating).
This is a task for education. 2/ One must have access to the Information technologies which store,
convey and process information. This is a problem in social economics. 3/ One must have access to the
information itself, which is also an issue for social economics. An illustration is given about how to have
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access to the New York Times Index through the Mead Corporation Service. “The people who wish to
use this service possess several things. First, they know that the database exists and how to use it.
Second, they have acquired the requisite technology to access it. And third, they are able to pay the
fees for the data. Thus, the educational and economic ante is really quite high for playing the
modern information game.”
Conclusion: “Our moral imperative is clear. We must insure that information technology, and the
information it handles, are used to enhance the dignity of mankind. To achieve these goals we
must formulate a new social contract, one that insures everyone the right to fulfill his or her own human
potential. In the new social contract information systems should not unduly invade a person's privacy
to avoid the indignities that the students in Tallahassee suffered. Information systems must be accurate
to avoid the indignities the Marches and the Browns suffered. Information systems should protect the
viability of the fixed conduit resource through which it is transmitted to avoid noise and jamming
pollution and the indignities of "The Tragedy of the Commons." Information systems should protect the
sanctity of intellectual property to avoid the indignities of unwitting "disemmindment" of knowledge from
individuals. And information systems should be accessible to avoid the indignities of information
illiteracy and deprivation.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
(MASON R. O., 1986) can be seen both as a reference, one of the first texts investigating the ethical
issues of Information Technologies and offering a well-thought and seducing framework anyone in the
field must know, and an illustration of what one shouldn’t do. Indeed, there are some inaccuracies and
vagueness in the reasoning: how relevant is it to take an example of a forecast error which caused a
man’s death to say that our exposure to problems of inaccuracy is enormous, when mostly absence of
forecast would have caused, and in fact did cause, many more deaths? The bank example isn’t very
good either, for we know errors do not come from computers, but from human beings misusing
computers. So the quoted sentence, supposed to be “scandalous”: “Computers make mistakes. Bank
make mistakes, too” is not very relevant in our context. But the biggest confusion is still the assimilation
of the bandwidth to a “common”. If a comparison had to be made, it wouldn’t be with a pasture but with
a road, a road which might be obstructed, or misused, but which cannot disappear. Thus there are no
irreparable decisions which can be made with the bandwidth as it can be the case with the commons.
All these confusions serve an ideologically orientated text, which can take credit for opening the debate
on these 4 ethical aspects of Information Technologies, but also for closing it to other issues for quite a
long time.
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Privacy within the PAPA Approach


SCANLAN, M. (2001). Informational privacy and moral values. Ethics and Information
Technology , 3, 3-12.

Summary
“A case from 1996 in Oregon in which citizens’ legally public motor vehicle information was
disseminated on a World Wide Web site is considered. The case evoked widespread moral outrage
among Oregonians and led to changes in the Oregon records laws. The application of either
consequentialist or non-consequentialist moral theories to this and other informational privacy cases is
found to be inadequate. Adjudication of conflicting desires is offered as the appropriate analytical model
for moral disputes. The notion of adjudication offered here diverges from traditional moral theories in its
indeterminate nature.” (SCANLAN, 2001)

Highlights
Considering the legislative outcome which happened in Oregon, which made the web site shut down but
allowed a dissemination of private information for many categories of people, M. Scanlan wonders: “why
most people concerned about this matter [privacy issue] considered it to be an acceptable result.” His
assumption is that it was not an acceptable solution, on either a consequentialist or a non-
consequentialist approach. He suggests instead to use an adjudication model for moral decisions.

Taking an Aristotelian view, from which the task of moral theory is to provide an account of the basis for
the normal moral judgments of a society, he tries to explain the moral indignation caused by the
dissemination of otherwise available information on a Web Site. Virtue ethics is not taken into account,
for “it does not seem to have natural application to informational privacy”. Consequentialist approach,
with a calculation of harm and benefit in the actual world, shows that “there was very little evidence
presented of actual harm caused in the past by the (non-web) openness of Oregon’s motor vehicle
records » but on the contrary evidence of its benefits.

Independently from calculation, there are 3 principles which are used to yield a judgment about
information privacy. These are non-consequentialist principles, underlying a lot of our informational
privacy procedures :
The first principle is about informational privacy in general and says that “certain information is
inherently private and should have restricted access”.
The second one is based on the concept of information ownership. On one hand, almost all regimes of
personal informational privacy allow for release of the information at the request of the person involved,
but on the other hand, “such regimes do not provide for destruction of the record (for instance, medical,
financial, school) at the request of the person involved. This would seem to be a component of
ownership that is lacking.”
The third principle is based on “a human right to autonomous action and a transactional theory of
information exchange”. “This suggests that there is something about the transaction which creates the
privacy area”. There are 3 different types of informational transaction : the first one is when there is an
absolute necessity of personal information, when one is asking for an evaluation of this information: the
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second one is when personal information exchange is not inherent in the transaction but that it would be
unreasonable to expect the transaction to happen without it ; the third one is when the informational
transfer is convenient but that the transaction could take place without it. “What the three way distinction
here outlined suggests is a three tiered level of privacy protection.”
Both approaches, consequentialist and non-consequentialist, fail to explain people’s judgment on
privacy issue and Oregon case. A third view is then developed, which is the adjudication model.
Adjudication is understood as a complex process including at the same time a set of general principles
that are then applied to specific cases and a calculation of practical consequences of a particular course
of action.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
Although GIS case is not mentioned, we believe that this philosophical approach can be useful to
distinguish and classify arguments on privacy issue, allowing us to separate consequentialist arguments
from non-consequentialist ones. Consequentialist approach would consider only the potential harm that
the divulgation of private information can cause, whereas non-consequentialist point of view says that
“there is something inherently wrong with free release of such individual information”.
From a consequentialist point of view, the calculation of harm and benefit could fit very well for a GIS
ethical issues analysis.
Moreover, the idea of a variable tiered level of privacy protection depending on the nature of original
transaction can also be useful.
Finally, the description of adjudication process can help solving conflicts arising from GIS Ethical Issues.
Indeed, it is not seen as a compromise in which each party has to give up some of his position, but as
an ideal situation in where “each party’s desires were adequately, if not perfectly, fulfilled”.

DODIG-CRNKOVIC, G., & HORNIAK, V. (2006). Togetherness and respect: ethical concerns of
privacy in Global Web Societies. (Springer, Ed.) AI&Society: Knowledge, Culture and
Communication , 20, 372-383.

Summary
“Today’s computer network technologies are sociologically founded on hunter-gatherer principles;
common users may be possible subjects of surveillance and sophisticated internet-based attacks are
almost impossible to prevent. At the same time, information and communication technology, ICT offers
the technical possibility of embedded privacy protection. Making technology legitimate by design is a
part of the intentional design for democracy. This means incorporating options for socially acceptable
behaviour in technical systems, and making the basic principles of privacy protection, rights and
responsibilities, transparent to the user. The current global e-polis already has, by means of different
technologies, de facto built-in policies that define the level of user-privacy protection. That which
remains is to make their ethical implications explicit and understandable to citizens of the global village
through interdisciplinary disclosive ethical methods, and to make them correspond to the high ethical
norms that support trust, the essential precondition of any socialization. The good news is that research
along these lines is already in progress. Hopefully, this will result in a future standard approach to the
privacy of network communications.” (DODIG-CRNKOVIC & HORNIAK, 2006)
TECHNOLIFE’s deliverable D1.2: Scoping the ethical dimensions of Geographic Information Systems.
Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 72

Highlights
Why privacy matters: Privacy matters because it protects 2 kind of basic rights: 1/priority in defining
one own identity (a special case being the freedom of anonymity) 2/ the right to private space (not only
physical space but disk space or special artefacts like private letters). Many governments try to protect
privacy, eg. the British Human Rights Act (1998) intents to protect privacy through Article 8. An issue
which might arise in policy-making is that privacy is seen differently in different parts of the world. It is
then necessary to distinguish between the minimal conception of privacy, which would be “a basic and a
common understanding of privacy in any developed culture”, and the rich conception of privacy, which
would design the culturally developed privacy in individual countries, and that is what mainly
differentiates the Western World and Japan in this respect. “Remembering this, it is obviously difficult to
establish global policies, because of the need to decide which view of privacy should be adopted.”
Phenomenology of cyber privacy: First of all, the social value of privacy can be questioned
(ROSEN, 2000). “It is sometimes argued that there is a risk that the abuse of privacy rights can
encourage people to conceal true information about themselves in order to gain social or economic
advantages. Another opinion is that having a private life, in addition to a public life, is a social fraud,
which can lead to deception and hypocrisy. The counter-argument is that every society relies on trust. If
anybody is entitled to define the characteristics of an individual, it must primarily be the individual
himself/herself. By default we normally trust a person before we have a strong reason not to do so.”
Studies made about Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) showed that virtual communities are
able to engage in real wrongs (POWERS, 2004). If we agree on this, the ethical issue is then what can
we do about this? How can the real wrongs in CVEs be prevented? (BREY, 1999) showed that
misrepresentation and biased representation in Virtual Reality (VR) systems is one of the ethical
concerns of VR.
Privacy as architecture of relationships: Human associations are characterized by their layered
architecture, which can be viewed through the degree of privacy. According to (MASON, 2004), privacy
can be studied through the relationship of 4 social groups. The first group is the individual, I. The
second group consists of all the people with whom individual I shares information or private space in a
negotiated relationship, in return for relationship or service. The third group has access to information
about the I as a result of their professional role, but shouldn’t use it. The 4th group is the rest of society,
the public, who have not any direct contact with the I. Each of these 4 groups have rights and duties
towards the other groups. “When the rights and duties of these four groups have been settled, a
technical problem raises—how to design and implement a system, which makes the information
available to the groups who are entitled to the specific information at a specific time.”
State of the art: disclosive ethics: (FLORIDI & SANDERS, 2003) advocate the method of ethical
constructionism. Indeed, it cannot be up to each individual to set up ethical rules for a globalized world
of computer ethics; therefore, virtue ethics is not an appropriate base for computer ethics. For
(MOOR, 1985), computer ethics is primarily about solving moral problems that arise because of a
policy vacuum about how computer technology should be used. (BREY, Method in Computer Ethics:
towards a multi-level interdisciplinary approach, 2000) advocates the method of Disclosive Computer
Ethics as “a multi-level interdisciplinary approach concerned with the moral deciphering of embedded
values and norms in computer systems, applications and practices.” Research within this frame is
performed at 3 levels: the disclosure level, at which, “ideally, philosophers, computer scientists and
social scientists collaborate to disclose embedded normativity in computer systems and practices.”; the
theoretical level, at which philosophers develop and modify moral theories, and the application level.
Togetherness and respect: legitimacy by design: When developing products and services today,
there is a need to simultaneously define the right of the user. An example of the realization of
intentional design for democracy is in the work in progress at the CyLab Group, who work on project
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 73
like provably secure steganography (process of sending secret message within another message),
secure people location service, and developing levels of anonymity and traceability.
Conclusion: For a modern civilization of global e-polis, the optimal functioning of virtual communities is
vital. According to (WHITWORTH & DE MOOR, 2003), there are 2 basic principles behind successful
VCEs: virtual community systems must match the process of human-human interaction; the rights and
the ownership must be clearly defined. Trust and privacy trade-offs being normal constituents of human
interactions, they must be incorporated in the ICT sphere developed on the principles of human-
centrism.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
(DODIG-CRNKOVIC & HORNIAK, 2006) offers a full review of the privacy issue, from the basic
interrogation “Why privacy matters?” to a methodological proposal, disclosive ethics, and illustrations,
like the work of the CyLab Group. If everything said about ICT is not directly transposable to GIS –
especially what concerns the VCEs functioning – development of PPGIS and on-line database make
those concerns somehow relevant for the GIS field. Finally, something to dig deeper would be (FLORIDI
& SANDERS, 2003)’s assumption quoted in the paper that Virtue Ethics cannot be an adequate
foundation for Computer Ethics, when one knows that Virtue Ethics have been quoted at the very
beginning of the URISA Code of Ethics as one of the 4 underlying moral views which inspired them, to
see what fundamental difference between GIS and ICT would justify that something wrong for one is
said to be good for the other.
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 74

Some alternative visions


LYON, D. (2001). Facing the Future: Seeking Ethics for Everyday Surveillance. Ethics and
Information Technology , 3, 171-181.

Summary
“Surveillance has become a routine, everyday occurrence in informational societies. Many agencies
have an interest in personal data, and a wide spectrum of them use searchable databases to classify
and catalogue such data. From policing to welfare to the Internet and e-commerce, personal data have
become very valuable, economically and administratively. While questions of privacy are indeed raised
by such surveillance, the processes described here have as much to do with social sorting, and thus
present new problems of automated categorization of data subjects. Privacy and data protection
measures do address some of the questions raised, but they tend to be limited to individualistic
readings of the situation, and not to consider issues of fairness and equality. An ethics for everyday
surveillance is proposed that considers personhood as central, but highlights its social and embodied
dimensions. Reductionism of practice and of analysis is thus avoided as the face comes to the fore.
Hence the title.” (LYON, 2001)

Highlights
Introduction : (LYON, 2001) uses the term of “dataveillance” he borrows from Roger Clarke to
describe the collection and storage of personal data consequent on computerization. But he highlights
that “’Privacy’ may be a misleading or inadequate concept for dealing with issues arising from the
proliferation of personal information in searchable databases”.
Everyday Surveillance requires new Ethical Approach: Contemporary Surveillance require fresh
ethical approach because it is a form of social sorting. Indeed, “categorization is not a neutral process
because it constitutes an intervention in the social world of those classified”. Categorization may appear
to some to be a neutral process because it depends on abstract data relating to persons but it is not,
and in many ways it instead accentuates difference and reinforce existing inequalities. “We are all
subject to many kinds of surveillance, from categorical suspicion to categorical seduction. But the
categories themselves are seldom inspected. Despite their consequentiality for life chances and
choices, they are seldom subject to ethical inquiry or democratic scrutiny.”
The inadequacy of current approaches: The first question asked concerns the metaphors used to
describe surveillance system. From Orwell’s Big Brother to Bentham’s Panopticon: what is the
right metaphor? Daniel Solove suggests that Kafka’s description of bureaucracy in The Trial captures
current situation more accurately than Orwell’s Big Brother: a world of thoughtless, indifferent
bureaucracy, with arbitrary errors. As for the panopticon, it draws together the supervisory and
monitoring functions. And Foucaldian studies underline the fact that surveillance involving databases
contributes to normalization. The second question addressed is how to go beyond old remedies. 2
main kinds of remedies have been proposed to deal with the unwanted consequences of surveillance:
data protection and privacy laws. “The question is, are they the right remedies for the situation
described here, of surveillance using searchable databases? And that is both an empirical and an
ethical question. It is argued that the “privacy solution” miss the social aspects of surveillance. Indeed,
as (GANDY, 1995) observed, surveillance conducted by means of searchable databases create
systems of discrimination. “It is, as Gandy says, the political and economic consequences of loss of
control over personal information that are the real issue, and not privacy”. Then the chief dangers
perceived by (MASON R. O., 1986) from the uncontrolled processing of personal data have changed
dramatically. Recognizing this, some leading experts in the field have tried to broaden the base of
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 75
ethical approaches. (MARX, 1998) for instance proposes an “ethics for the new surveillance” in which
he offers 29 questions that help to assess any surveillance systems or practice. His primary concern
remains with what he calls “the technological invasion of the self”, the “crossing of personal borders”.
Elements for a new ethics of surveillance: (LYON, The Electronic Eye: The Rise of Surveillance
Society, 1994) proposed 3 tests for surveillance practices: participation, personhood, and purposes.
(LYON, Facing the Future: Seeking Ethics for Everyday Surveillance, 2001) suggests that personhood
is the key concept, the other two making sense in relation to that. “Personhood” is understood as a way
of thinking about persons that is irreducibly social. Thus a new ethics of surveillance should follow 2
steps: first, understand how surveillance systems operate, what data-users do, and with what social and
personal consequences. In this step, understanding the codes that categorize is vital. Second, we
should “find an agreement on what constitutes the human dignity and the social justice that may be
compromised by those systems. I suggest that embodied, social, personhood provides such a starting
point. Nuanced, multi-level empirical analyses of different groups of data-subjects can also give
concrete shape to this concept.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
Although (LYON, 2001) doesn’t consider GIS explicitly, his paper can lead to interrogate GIS
foundations. Indeed, GISystems are based on superposition of layers which represent categories, and it
might be useful to inspect those categories themselves, in order to avoid segregation or reinforcement
of existing inequalities. On a more global level, it suggest an original way of going beyond the privacy
issue thanks to the “personhood” concept.
FALLIS, D. (2004). Epistemic Value Theory and Information Ethics. (K. A. Publishers, Ed.) Minds
and Machines , 14, 101-117.

Summary
“Three of the major issues in information ethics — intellectual property, speech regulation, and privacy
— concern the morality of restricting people’s access to certain information. Consequently, policies in
these areas have a significant impact on the amount and types of knowledge that people acquire. As a
result, epistemic considerations are critical to the ethics of information policy decisions (MILL,
1859 [1869]). The fact that information ethics is a part of the philosophy of information highlights this
important connection with epistemology. In this paper, I illustrate how a value-theoretic approach to
epistemology can help to clarify these major issues in information ethics. However, I also identify
several open questions about epistemic values that need to be answered before we will be able to
evaluate the epistemic consequences of many information policies.” (FALLIS, 2004)

Highlights
Introduction: As a part of philosophy of information, and because accessing information is an effective
means to acquiring knowledge, information ethics is unique among areas of applied ethics in having an
important epistemological component. And because information policies can have a profound effect on
knowledge acquisition, evaluating their epistemic consequences is an important part of a
consequentialist evaluation of such policies. (MILL, 1859 [1869])’s famous argument on government
regulation of speech is based on the grounds that it has bad epistemic consequences. Furthermore,
information policies are often adopted precisely because of their epistemic consequences. Thus, “in
order to resolve the ethical issue, we have to resolve the epistemic issue.” Knowledge is both
intrinsically a good thing, and a good thing because it leads to other good consequences. However,
consequences can also be bad sometimes. Thus we need an epistemic value theory, in order to
evaluate what the epistemic costs and benefices of information policies are, and how to weigh them on
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 76
against each other. (GOLDMAN, 1999)’s epistemic value theory, which can be applied to a wide range
of different areas, can be helpful for this purpose.
Intellectual Property: While traditional epistemology tends to focus on the epistemic state of a single
individual, information policy decisions have an impact on the epistemic states of large numbers of
people, thus the issue is to compare different epistemic outcomes. Along with the Pareto Optimum,
different methods are considered to compare 3 epistemic outcomes, involving 3 persons:

Outcome A Outcome B Outcome C

Person 1 5 5 3

Person 2 10 5 10

Person 3 5 5 3
Table 5: 3 different epistemic outcomes to assess

It is clear that Outcome A is Pareto Superior to Outcome B. But between B and C, neither outcome is
Pareto Superior to the other. One way to deal with this situation is to find a new intellectual property
policy that leads to an epistemic outcome that is Pareto superior to both outcome B and outcome C. For
instance, we may adopt strong copyright laws (which are said to lead to outcomes similar to outcome C)
but also robust “fair use” and “first sale” limitation on copyright. “Unfortunately, we will not always be
able to find a new information policy that leads to an epistemic outcome that is Pareto Superior to all of
the alternatives.” (GOLDMAN, 1999) suggests that we aggregate knowledge possession by calculating
the average amount of knowledge, just like utilitarianism does for happiness. This method will consider
Outcome A to be the best, and to be better than B.
But there are many other methods of aggregating knowledge possession. (GOLDMAN, 1999, p. 96)
considers a case where we should give a higher priority to specific people with a greater “need-to-
know” for instance for the navigation of a ship. In such a case, whether outcome B is better than
outcome C depends on the “need-to-know” of Person 2. Another method, analogous to Rawls’s
difference principle, gives higher priority to the epistemically “less advantaged”, and then outcome B is
better than outcome C. Finally, an egalitarian method could consider that outcome is better than
outcome A even if outcome A is Pareto Superior – egalitarianism being however less plausible in
epistemology than in ethics. In order to summarize, we have:

Pareto Optimum Method: A > B and C, but impossible to decide between B and C.
Utilitarian method (aggregation) : A > C > B
Goldman’s “Need-to-know” Method: Depends on Person’s 2 need to know.
Rawlsian Method: A > B > C
Egalitarian Method: B > A and C

“In order to determine which intellectual property policy has the best epistemic consequences, we have
to decide which of these methods to adopt.” The Rawlsian and the “need-to-know” method are
influenced by non-epistemic considerations. And the goal in developing an epistemic value theory was
simply to say which policy had the best epistemic consequences. The utilitarian method of
aggregating knowledge possession is the only one which can be defended on purely epistemic
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grounds. But we also have to consider the difference between aggregating knowledge tokens, as
(GOLDMAN, 1999) suggests, and aggregating knowledge types: “An outcome where one person knows
several facts clearly seems to be epistemically better than an outcome where several people know the
very same fact”. And weak intellectual property laws are supposed to be better at maximizing
knowledge tokens, whereas strong intellectual property laws will tend to maximize knowledge types.
So, we may conclude that: “one outcome is epistemically better than another whenever everyone does
at least as well with respect to knowledge possession and there are at least as many knowledge types
and someone does better or there are more knowledge types.”
Speech Regulation: There are 2 epistemic values: having true beliefs, and avoiding errors.
Unrestricted access to information can lead to more true beliefs while restricting access can lead to
fewer false beliefs: we then have to determine the relative weight of these 2 epistemic values. Many
philosophers have claimed that it is not possible to determine an ordering of epistemic outcomes on
purely epistemic grounds – eg. consideration that error avoidance in medicine is more important than in
sports comes from non-epistemic values.
Another issue about speech regulation is the time issue: (MILL, 1859 [1869]) argues that restricting
access to information can lead to more knowledge in the short run while unrestricted access can lead
to more knowledge in the long run. In general, it seems safe to order epistemic outcomes with the
Pareto method with respect to times as with respect to people, taking into account specific issues like
the fact that knowledge today typically leads to more knowledge in the future. But, as for the intellectual
property issue, we will often have to compare outcomes where neither outcome is Pareto superior to the
other. One possibility is to adopt the utilitarian method of aggregating knowledge possession over times.
However, this method is subject to the same concerns that were discussed earlier. So instead of the
utilitarian method, we might adopt a method which gives different weights to knowledge possession at
different times. Alternatively, we might apply a discount rate to knowledge possession. Anyway, “these
issues must be resolved before we can use our epistemic value theory to evaluate the epistemic
consequences of speech regulation policies.

Privacy: The issue of informational privacy has a major epistemological component. Indeed, there are
epistemic costs to keeping certain information private, but there are also significant epistemic costs to
violating people’s privacy, having some sort of “chilling effect”. (MCDOWELL, 2002, pp. 55-56)
concludes that “it is because less knowledge would be accrued that social epistemology should judge
that libraries should not violate confidentiality, not because it is an immoral thing to do.” Overall, it is
argued that privacy policy assessment depends on the answers given to the previous issues of true
belief/avoiding error, long run/short run, etc.: “in order to decide which privacy policy has the best
epistemic consequences, we also have to adopt a particular method of aggregating knowledge over
times.”

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
Epistemic considerations are an original approach to ethical issues. Consequently, if 2 of the 3 issues
considered, intellectual property and privacy, are very classical and typical of the “PAPA approach”, the
epistemological point of view gives an interesting new start to these issues. As for speech regulation, it
might become a relevant issue for GIS in the context of increasing advertising. Finally, the methodology
used for the comparison of different methods (utilitarian, “need-to-know”, rawlsian, egalitarian, etc.)
could be fruitfully used for an assessment considering only ethical issues.
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 78
FLORIDI, L. (2006). Information technologies and the tragedy of Good Will. (Springer, Ed.) Ethics
and Information Technology , 8, 253-262.

Summary
“Information plays a major role in any moral action. ICT (Information and Communication Technologies)
have revolutionized the life of information, from its production and management to its consumption, thus
deeply affecting our moral lives. Amid the many issues they have raised, a very serious one, discussed
in this paper, is labelled the tragedy of the Good Will. This is represented by the increasing pressure
that ICT and their deluge of information are putting on any agent who would like to act morally, when
informed about actual or potential evils, but who also lacks the resources to do much about them. In the
paper, it is argued that the tragedy may be at least mitigated, if not solved, by seeking to re-establish
some equilibrium, through ICT themselves, between what agents know about the world and what they
can do to improve it.” (FLORIDI L. , Information technologies and the tragedy of Good Will, 2006)

Highlights
Introduction : The moral values of information: Any technology that radically modifies “the life of
information” is bound to have deep moral implications. Therefore, ICT, by radically transforming the
informational context in which moral issues arise, not only add new dimensions to old problems, but
lead us to rethink methodologically, the very grounds on which our ethical positions are based. The
paper will deal with the identification and solution of a key problem that arises in the context of two
arrows in the figure below, when information is taken in a semantic sense as a product and as a
resource: the tragedy of Good Will.

Figure 3: The agent embedded in the infosphere (FLORIDI 2006)

Six assumptions: First it is necessary to make explicit 6 assumptions about information and ethics.
1) Information will be used in its strongly semantic sense, in order to refer to “syntactically well-formed,
semantically meaningful, and veridical data”, at the exclusion of information in a probabilistic, structural,
ontological or instructional sense.
2) A moral agent A is interested in gaining as much relevant information as required by the
circumstances (Aristotelian assumption)
3) A does not have boundless resources but is realistically constrained by time, energy, memory, etc.
Moral action cannot presuppose any form of omnipotence. In Standard Deontic Logic, A (Oa 
Pa), which means that if A must do a, then A can do a.
4) A’s moral responsibility tends to be directly proportional to A’s degree of information.
5) There’s no akrasia: A does not act against her judgment.
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6) There is eudokia (Good Will): A wants to do the good thing. The Good Will is an ideal but not an
idealized agent.

The tragic and the scandalous: The tragic arises when there is a lack of balance between information
and power in the presence of eudokia. Antique examples of Lucretius (no Good Will  no tragedy),
Oedipus (Good Will, lack of information, power  tragedy), and Cassandra (Good Will, Information, but
lack of Power  tragic) are given, as well as Shakespeare’s Miranda (in The Tempest; the tragic as a
result of Good Will, misinformation and lack of power). As for the scandalous, it is how the tragic may be
observed by its observers.

The twofold relation between ICT and the tragic: ICT meet achieve tragedy through two problems:
the IT-heodicean problem and the tragedy of the Good Will. The first one refers to the theodicean
debate about the coexistence of God and Evil, except it deals with artificial evil, discussed in (FLORIDI
& SANDERS, Artificial Evil and the Foundation of Computer Ethics, 2001). Basically, it lies on the fact
that the more powerful the Good Will becomes (especially with ICT), the wider becomes the scope of
her responsibilities. The Tragedy of the Good Will is based on the fact that confronted by so much
information about so many moral failures, the Good Will cannot help feeling frustrated and guilty. The
weak Good Will then might be inclined to develop skilful forms of ignorance or blind spots: “no one is
less informed than the person who does not want to be informed.” L. Floridi affirms that it should be
one of the ethical tasks of an uncensored ICT to prevent the Good Will from “burying her head in
the sand of ignorance”.

Escaping the tragic condition: 4 mutually compatible ways of escaping the tragedy are possible:
1) More power: The information/power gap may decrease as information has already reached its peak,
whereas power is catching up.
2) Better information: better informed Good Wills can act and exercise their augmented power better.
3) Global Agents: the powerless observation of the single Good Will can be replaced by the empowered
interactions of multi-agent systems of Good Wills, or how to “make Oedipus and Cassandra work
together”.
4) Augmented Ethics (not superethics): superethics run the risk of being supererogatory for main human
agents, and ICT require an augmented ethics for the whole of humanity as the ultimate Good Will, not
for individual super-heroes.

Conclusion: Towards a global consensus?: Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus about what
would be the best ways to spend additional resources on helping the developing countries, as an open
and rational process of discussion using ICT within a supra-individual Good Will, and as an explicit
attempt to develop demiurgic approaches to global problems, seems to be one of the best ways of
dealing with the world’s most serious issues, just gathering information about information.

To what extent can it help framing the TECHNOLIFE project for GIS line
The Tragedy of Good Will – and to less extent the IT-heodicean problem – seems to be a relevant and
original ethical approach for all Information Technologies, including GIS. Indeed, how to prevent that a
GIS-practitioner working, let’s say on a map of AIDS’ contamination in Africa, weren’t hit by the gap
between her information and her lack of power to act, causing either permanent guilt and frustration,
either the “bury one’s hand in the sand” strategy? While somehow most papers about GIS and ethical
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Verrax, F., Lekaviciute, J., Gadal, S. & Vanderlinden, J.-P. 80
issues focused on the “Augmented Ethics” aspect – while developing mainly a supererogatory kind of
Super Ethics – L. Floridi shows that there are other ways of escaping the tragedy of Good Will: by
providing better information and empowering individual agents as well as Communities of Global
Agents. Union of Politics and GIS can therefore finds its theoretical justification in this moral need of
making Oedipus work with Cassandra…
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Internet Resources

http://icie.zkm.de/
The International Center for Information Ethics, created in 1999 by Rafael Capurro, is an academic
website on Information Ethics, providing news and teaching resources on the subject. It organizes
symposiums of which proceedings are available online.

http://www.i-r-i-e.net/index.htm
The International Review of Information Ethics is the official journal of the ICIE. 10 issues have been
published since 2004, all available online. Careful: some papers are not available in English, but in
German.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-computer/
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the reference online for philosophers. It proposes entries for
“Computer and Information Ethics”, “Privacy” and “Property”, and each time a vast bibliography, and
many links online to go further.

http://cyberethics.cbi.msstate.edu/biblio/
The Tavani Bibliography on Computing, Ethics, and Social Responsibility includes more than 2000
entries organized into 5 main parts: General References, Teaching Courses in Computers, Ethics and
Society, Ethical Issues for Computer Professionals, Ethical and Social Issues in the Use of Computers,
the Future of Computing and the Quality of Life. Only one critic: it mustn’t be updated very frequently
and few references are posterior to 2000.

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics presents many papers and case studies in all areas of applied
ethics, including Technology. Nevertheless, be aware it is hosted by Santa Clara University, a catholic
Jesuit University which has a strong religious point of view.

http://epic.org/privacy/privacy_resources_faq.html
The Electronic Privacy Information Center proposes an Online Guide to Privacy Resources, indeed very
complete, but their ideological orientation shouldn’t be forgotten, which is to preserve and stand up for
individual privacy.