UNIT 70 - LEGAL ISSUES

UNIT 70 - LEGAL ISSUES

Compiled with assistance from Earl Epstein, Ohio State University


For Information that Supplements the Contents of this Unit:

GIS Ethics (Geographer's Craft) -- Conflicting responsibilities; access to public information vs. privacy; demands on public agencies; international data; knowing is destroying.
Legal Issues Relating to GIS (Geographer's Craft) -- The evolving workplace: the open trend, from product-constrained to multiple-projects, the bottom line, who benefits from developments, the Vancouver story, the process, conclusion.
Exam and Study Questions -- Legal issues (Geographer's Craft)
Information in Social Context (Chrisman/U of Washington) -- US Institutional arrangements: GIS in institutional context, current iniatives, ethics questions.

  • A. INTRODUCTION
  • B. INFORMATION AS A LEGAL AND ECONOMIC ENTITY
  • C. LIABILITY
  • D. LIABILITY SCENARIOS
  • E. ACCESS AND OWNERSHIP
  • REFERENCES
  • EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • NOTES

    UNIT 70 - LEGAL ISSUES

    Compiled with assistance from Earl Epstein, Ohio State University

    A. INTRODUCTION

    The legal regime

    Function of law in society

    B. INFORMATION AS A LEGAL AND ECONOMIC ENTITY

    Quantity

    Property rights

    Public goods

    Value of information

    Information as evidence

    C. LIABILITY

    Contract liability

    Negligence

    Strict product liability

    D. LIABILITY SCENARIOS

    Errors in represented location

    Representations of error-free data

    Unintended and inappropriate uses

    E. ACCESS AND OWNERSHIP

    Privacy and Confidentiality

    Open Records Laws, Freedom of Information Act

    Copyright

    Conflict of laws

    REFERENCES

    Aronoff, S., 1989. Geographic Information Systems: A Management Perspective, WDL Publications, Ottawa. Chapter 8 examines responsibilities for accuracy and access to information contained within GIS.

    Epstein, E.F., 1988a. "Litigation over information: the use and misuse of maps," in Proceedings, IGIS: The Research Agenda, NASA, Washington DC, 1:177-84. Good overview of legal issues in the context of conventional and digital mapping.

    Epstein, E.F., 1988b. "Legal aspects of global databases," in H. Mounsey and R.F. Tomlinson, editors, Building Databases for Global Science, Taylor and Francis, Basingstoke, UK. Introduces international legal issues and reviews the legal problems involved in building global databases.

    Mackay, E., 1982. Economics of Information and Law, Kluwer Nijhoff, Boston. Chapter 5 discusses information, law and economics.

    EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1. Explain how conflict can occur between laws designed to protect privacy, allow open access to publicly held data, and protect the economic interests of the creators of databases.

    2. Discuss the three types of liability, and their relevance to providers of geographical data.

    3. How will the legal issues surrounding geographical data change as cartography moves from a manual to a digital environment? What new problems will there be, and what old problems will be solved?

    4. Using examples from everyday experience, explain the difficulties involved in putting value on information, and in trading information as a commodity. How are these difficulties being dealt with as society moves from an economy of commodities to one of information?


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