Ethical ecosurveillance: mitigating the potential impacts on humans of widespread environmental monitoring.

Published online
08 Aug 2022
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Young, N. & Roche, D. G. & Lennox, R. J. & Bennett, J. R. & Cooke, S. J.
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Ecosurveillance has proliferated in recent years, generating vast amounts of data on the natural environment. Ecosurveillance also has significant potential impacts on humans; therefore, researchers and policymakers need new conceptual tools to anticipate and mitigate any negative effects. Surveillance studies is an interdisciplinary field in the social sciences, providing a number of insights and practical lessons for predicting and managing the complex impacts (positive and negative, intended and unintended) of surveillance tools and practices. We draw on surveillance studies literature to propose two tools to guide designers and practitioners of ecosurveillance - a 'red flag checklist' to anticipate potential problems, and a 'considerations guide' to inform design decisions across a wide range of ecosurveillance systems. These tools will help ensure that the coming era of ecosurveillance is guided by responsible and ethical practices towards wildlife and humans alike, while also realizing the potential of these technologies for improving environmental outcomes.

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