Monday, July 11, 2011

Social sciences research using social media data: Harvard's Privacy Meltdown

This is a really interesting case, and case-study in the complicated privacy and ethical issues of using "person level" social networking information for social sciences research. In this case, researchers "friended" students on Facebook to pull their data into the study. No consent was obtained. The study passed the institutional review board of Harvard, which concluded that getting opt-in consent would not be legally or ethically necessary.

"Alerting students risked 'frightening people unnecessarily,' he says.

'We all agreed that it was not necessary, either legally or ethically,' Mr. Kaufman says."

For the full story, see: Harvard's Privacy Meltdown - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Lauren Weinstein.

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