Archive | Governance RSS for this section

Reflections on the value of ethics in relation to Earth observation


Earth observation is a science and technology with tremendous power to collect data over the whole of the Earth at many wavelengths and at many spatial resolutions. But does this science and technology, or rather the use of this science and technology, have an ethical dimension? This article explores the application of ethical concepts to Earth observation. Three main aspects of ethics are examined: duty theories of ethics, consequentialist ethics, and environmental ethics. These ethical ideas are then applied to the UN Principles on Remote Sensing, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters and to Google Earth, and also to questions of security and privacy. The article concludes that there is no absolute ethical position in relation to Earth observation, but a dependency on the perspective of the observer. For link to the article (but it’s behind a $58 paywall, seriously), click here.

Author: Ray Harris

Source: International Journal of Remote Sensing, Volume 34, Number 4, 2013 , pp. 1207-1219(13)

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd


Publication date: 2013-02-20

Why John Kerry Must Listen to China’s Social Web

by Anka Lee and David Wertime, The Atlantic, March 6, 2013

…In order to craft an appealing diplomatic message that reaches beyond the heights of Chinese bureaucracy, Secretary Kerry must elevate the role of China’s vibrant social media within the mix of American policy-making information. It must, at minimum, lie on equal footing with official meetings, intelligence assessments, “Track 2” dialogues, and academic exchanges. Only then can American officials begin to take a reliable reading of the Chinese public’s temperature on Beijing’s role in the world, China’s relationship with the United States, and Chinese peoples’ conceptions of their own rights and duties as citizens. …

For full text of this article, visit Why John Kerry Must Listen to China’s Social Web – Anka Lee and David Wertime – The Atlantic.


Viewpoint: We need ground rules for geo-information

By Christopher Rees and Kevin Madders, BBC News, 28 February 2013

Since the issues are transnational, we’ve proposed the development of an international Geo-information Convention.Its aim is to be technology-neutral, so that it is future-proof enough also to cover new systems like hyper spectral sensors reminiscent of Star Trek and drones with privacy implications reminiscent of 1984.Continue reading the main story “Start Quote What limits should we put on use of its power?”The essential questions are: how do we make geoinformation reliable enough for the particular applications for which it is to be used, and what limits should we put on use of its power?Work on these difficult questions has already begun through the International Bar Association.

For full text of this op-ed, visit BBC News – Viewpoint: We need ground rules for geo-information.

Thank you to Adena Schutzberg (@adenas) for passing this along.


New Harvard Study on What Happens When You Have Fewer Managers

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, Feb 12

These [e.g., GitHub] may be among the more extreme embodiments of the flattening impulse, but they speak to a real fervor for flat structures as up-and-coming companies try to keep their teams cohesive, responsive, and agile.Does this enthusiasm for flattened companies hold up to careful study, though? That’s the question asked by Julie Wulf in a new Harvard Business School working paper. Through quantitative research and more qualitative interviews and CEO time-use surveys, Wulf and her team looked into the actual effects when larger companies eliminated layers of management. …

To learn about this study and its surprising results, visit What Happens When You Have Fewer Managers |

Congressional Hearing Highlights Lack of Domestic Drone Rules

by Kelsey Atherton, Popular Science, February 15, 2013

…most Americans are not terribly fond of the idea of their neighbors flying cameras around and taking pictures of them in their backyards. The problem is that, right now, there is no explicit federal guidance prohibiting this. … according to testimony by Dr. Gerald Dillingham, civilian drones are governed by the same rules that apply to model aircraft–which is basically no rules at all. … Dr. Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues in the Government Accountability Office, testified that while the Federal Aviation Administration has a clear safety mandate, it doesn’t have one for privacy. So it would fall to Congress to decide which governmental body–the FAA or some other organization–should draw up privacy regulations. ….

For full text of this article, please visit Congressional Hearing Offers A Sneak Peek At The Future Of Domestic Drone Rules | Popular Science.

The Information Revolution Gets Political

by Joseph S. Nye, Project Syndicate, Jan 9, 2013

“… it would be a mistake to “over-learn” the lessons that the Arab revolutions have taught about information, technology, and power. While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies.

In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.”

For full text of this thought provoking article, please visit The Information Revolution Gets Political by Joseph S. Nye – Project Syndicate.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,013 other followers

%d bloggers like this: