Mexico: Geo-pirates in Oaxaca
The Union of Oraganizations from the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO, Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca) denounced a "joint" initiative called Indigenous Project Mexico (Proyecto México Indigena). This project allegedly puts the sovereignty of indigenous pueblos in jeopardy and facilitates the looting of their natural patrimony through the mapping of their territories. Critics call this activity, which involves compiling high resolution geographic information about the precise location of various resources, including water resources and biodiversity, "geo-piracy."
In the words of Silvia Ribeiro of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration (ETC Group), "The implications of this type of activity are so vast that it is difficult to summarize them. The detailed and exact mapping of the areas is possible only by obtaining the local knowledge of the people who live there. By processing this data with new technologies such as systems of digitized geographic information superimposed on satellite maps freely available on Google, one can obtain an enormous amount of information which was previously unknown or was not visible. These maps are not only very useful for military purposes and for counterinsurgency efforts, but also for industrial purposes (exploitation of mineral resources, plants, animals and biodiversity, mapping accesses to constructed or 'necessary' highways, sources of water, population centers, social mapping of possible resistance to or acceptance of projects, etc.)."
The critics of the project "Mexico Indígena" note with great concern that among its financiers is the United States Army.
UNOSJO, "Geopiteraría y Proyecto México Indígena," http://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/84360.
Silvia Ribeiro, "Geopiratería en México," http://www.biodiversidadla.org/content/view/full/47165.