Data Working Group/DWG Conflict of Interest Policy

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

This policy has been finalized by the Data Working Group in June 2019 and explains how we deal with conflicts of interest in the working group.


  • Member: A member of the Data Working Group
  • Member of the family: A person who would be covered by section 253 of the Companies Act 2006 if the member were a director.
  • Part of an organisation: A person who is gainfully employed by an organisation, owns a share in the organisation, and/or is an officer (e.g. board member) of the organisation. Does not apply to simple membership (e.g. an OSMF member is not "part of" the OSMF).

Causes for a Conflict of Interest

A Data Working Group (DWG) member has a conflict of interest in a matter if they

  • are involved in a case outside their DWG capacity,
  • are at the same organization as someone involved in a case,
  • are being paid by another party for the DWG work in question, or
  • any reason that would cause a conflict of interest as defined in the Companies Act 2006 if the member were a director.

If a policy on data materially impacts an organization that a member is part of, the member has a conflict for matters involving that policy.

If a member of the member's family is in a conflict, the member is also in a conflict.

Consequences of a Conflict of Interest

If a DWG member has a conflict of interest they shall not watch, participate in, or vote on the matter, unless the non-conflicted members of the DWG authorize them to participate or ask them questions. If another DWG member feels necessary discussions can move to private emails or another means of communication the conflicted member does not have access to, but technical measures preventing access are not required if no one believes them necessary.

DWG members are expected to proactively disclose any conflicts and note any situations that may be perceived as a conflict, but need not disclose why they have a conflict if the reason is confidential.

DWG members with a conflict may take part in any public consultation regardless of their conflict, but must make it clear they are not speaking for the DWG.

Sensitive international disputes

Due to the sensitive nature of disputes over boundaries and disputed regions, additional restrictions are in place for matters involving them. DWG members have a conflict of interest in such matters if

  • they or a member of their family live in one of the countries or areas involved
  • if they or a member of their family are part of an organization (excluding the OSMF) that has an official stance on what map borders or languages are valid