February 09, 2023
Maori slow to protect digital interests
A Maori expert in digital technology and virtual reality says real-world Maori knowledge and creativity is threatened by what happens in uncontrolled cyber-space.
Kevin Shedlock of Victoria University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, says virtual artworks have sold for thousands and even millions of dollars online, but here in Aotearoa Maori are still grappling with the basics of protecting their intellectual property once it becomes digital.
He says too few Maori are involved inthe field.
“There’s a lot of digital inequalities with the indigenous space – and specifically Maori. There’s obviously those power imbalances, so that we can define our own narratives. We’re actually turning to other people to digitize our narratives. And then there’s all those issues around the ethics of working with data – and the actual ownership of it,” he says.
With whakapapa to Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou and Te Whakatohea, Kevin Shedlock says he fears Maori rights to protect who can use their images, art, culture, and information are open to abuse if we don’t plan now for an increasingly digital future.