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The Locus Charter

We believe that there is a pressing need for agreed international guidelines and principles for the responsible use of location data, to help guide users to good practice, and hold poor practice to account. Benchmark has joined with the American Geographical Society’s EthicalGeo program to support collaboration on a new global charter to guide the responsible use of location data.

Our aim is that the “The Locus Charter” will become a set of common guiding principles to help practitioners and decision-makers use location data for good. Throughout 2020 a series of workshops with location data and data ethics experts from across the globe came together to draft an initial version of the Charter’s scope, principles and approach. The Locus Charter was launched on 24 March 2021 and we invite everyone to join the community - sign up today!

About the Benchmark Initiative

Understanding "where" is one of the most powerful insights we have to help us manage the world around us. Increasingly detailed data about places, and people and things in places, continually offers new insights and capabilities, and new kinds of power. This new power should be exercised responsibly and fairly.

The Benchmark Initiative was created by Omidyar Network and Ordnance Survey to increase awareness of the many potential risks of using location data, to identify ethical principles, and to promote good practice. Benchmark is now also supporting international collaboration to agree and promote a shared view of what good practice with location data looks like, as the Locus Charter.

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Lecture & Webinar Series

Benchmark delivers public events to explore applications areas and challenges, including bias, transparency, privacy, imbalances of power, anonymity and consent. The pandemic has put responsible use of location data on everyone’s agenda. Location data is essential for tracking infection, managing privacy, supporting safe distancing at work and in public places, and delivering healthcare based on local needs. It is more important than ever to explore how to use this data for individuals and the public good, now and in the longer term. In response, Benchmark is now presenting panel discussions that explore these crucial themes.

Entrepreneur Program

The Benchmark program supports leading innovators to explore and develop solutions related to geospatial data ethics. Our entrepreneurs work to deliver practical and real-world applications and services to illustrate the risks, opportunities, and ethical considerations in using location data. Participants also help advance our shared understanding of how to use ethical principles in practice.

Throughout 2020 there were 4 entrepreneurs in residence working on a variety of projects investigating areas of transport data, health, and public understanding of risk. All the projects have now concluded and details of the open-source tools that were developed can be found on the Benchmark Initiative Blog.

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