Presentations at PRIM&R 2011 “Adancing Ethical Research”

This weekend I have the great privilege of sharing my research and perspectives on Internet research ethics at the 2011 "Advancing Ethical Research" conference held by Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R). On the opening morning of the conference,…

My Research in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Harvard’s Privacy Meltdown”; some annotations

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an article featuring my critique of the privacy protections and research methods related to the “Taste, Ties, and Time” (T3) Facebook research study conducted by a set of Harvard sociologists. Written by Marc…

Facebook Data of 1.2 Million Users from 2005 Released: Limited Exposure, but Very Problematic

Recently, a Facebook dataset was released consisting of the complete set of users from the Facebook networks at 100 American institutions, and all of the in-network “friendship” links between those users as they existed at a single moment of time in September 2005. Surprisingly, it initially included each users unique Facebook ID, meaning the presumed "anonymous" dataset could be easily re-identified, potentially putting the personal information of 1.2 million Facebook users at risk.

Debrief: Internet Research 11.0 Conference (Gothenburg, Sweden)

Last week I attended Internet Research 11.0: Sustainability, Participation, Action, the 11th annual  conference for the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), in Gothenburg, Sweden. This is the conference I look forward to the most each year, thanks to the steady…

SACHRP Presentation: Research Ethics in the 2.0 Era: Conceptual Gaps for Ethicists, Researchers, IRBs

On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, I will be presenting in front of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), part of the Office for Human Research Protections in the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). My presentation will focus on how Web 2.0 tools, environments, and experiences are creating new conceptual gaps in our understanding of privacy, anonymity/identifiability, consent, and harm.

Rethinking the Human Subjects Process

Recently I've found myself absorbed in various issues surrounding Internet research ethics: the Tastes, Ties, and Time Facebook data release, Pete Warden's plans to release a database of public Facebook information on 215 million users, etc. To help work through…

Anthony Hoffmann on the Twitter-Library of Congress Deal: Privacy, Representation, Culture, Research Ethics

Anthony Hoffmann, a UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies PhD student, has posted an excellent analysis of the Twitter-Library of Congress deal, in 4 parts, at his blog: Part I: Intro and Privacy Roundup: Hoffmann discusses how the LoC acquisition of…

Why Pete Warden Should Not Release Profile Data on 215 Million Facebook Users

Speaking of the research ethics related to automatically harvesting public social networking data, we are confronted this week with the story of Pete Warden, a former Apple engineer who has spent the last six months harvesting and analyzing data from…

Is it Ethical to Harvest Public Twitter Accounts without Consent?

While participating in the workshop on Revisiting Research Ethics in the Facebook Era: Challenges in Emerging CSCW Research, the question arose as to whether it was ethical for researchers to follow and systematically capture public Twitter streams without first obtaining…

Revisiting Research Ethics in the Facebook Era: Challenges in Emerging CSCW Research

I'm currently in Savannah, GA to participate in a workshop on Revisiting Research Ethics in the Facebook Era: Challenges in Emerging CSCW Research at CSCW 2010. This is my first time at CSCW, and looking at the set of papers…