Category Archives: Research ethics

Submission on behalf of RRI researchers to Commons Sci-Tech Select Committee inquiry on remit of the interim chair of UKRI

rri_wordcloudOn Friday 23 September I attended a workshop on “RRI in the UK: the post Brexit future?” that was organized by Prof. Bernd Stahl (DeMontford U.) to discuss with UK researchers engaged with the Responsible Research and Innovation agenda how the current state of RRI in the UK, and where the research field might head next. One of the stated aims of the workshop was to “look to develop a strategy/roadmap, which enables all UK academics working in this field to feel that there is a way forward” [if/when EU funding for RRI is no longer available post-Brexit].

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Ethics of Using Hacked Data & Guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics

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Two items about research ethics today to balance out the many policy issues that we’ve been featuring on this blog recently.

The first items is an interesting case study by Nathaniel Poor and Roei Davidson about the ethics of using hacked data that feature on the Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society blog.

The second items, is a recently published set of guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics that was published online by Ben Zevenbergen with input from host of people who participated at various ethics workshops organized by Ben.

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Alan Turing Institute workshop on Algorithm Society

ati-site-banner-2xOn February 17th and 18th the Alan Turing Institute held a two day ‘scientific scoping workshop’ on Algorithm Society with the tag-line: “If data is the oil of the 21st century then algorithms are the engines  that animate modern economies and societies by providing  reflection, analysis and action on our activities. This workshop will look at how algorithms embed in and transform economies and societies and how social and economic forces shape the creation of algorithms.

The workshop started with three talks covering FinTech (by Prof. Donald MacKenzie), human attitudes/expectations and willingness to use/trust algorithmic decisions (by Berkeley Dietvorst) and a proposal for a “Machine Intelligence Commission” to investigate and interrogate algorithm bias and compliance with regulations (by Geoff Mulgan).

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20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration

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The whole CaSMa team joined ETHICOMP2015 at De Montfort University (Leicester) early last week. EHICOMP2015 was a fantastic ‘old school reunion’ that gathered well established researchers in the field  – to discuss the role of computing in our societies and the question of the ethical values and consequences linked to the ever-growing importance of technology in our lives. The ETHICOMP community claims to be more than a highly multidisciplinary group of academics and industry related partners, and definitely more than a conference. ETHICOMP aims to be a ‘community mentor’ that would go beyond the usual conference academic output, and I could not disagree with this statement. A notorious aspect of this conference was the non-hierarchical, approachable and friendly attitude of delegates, presenters and keynote speakers and an obvious willingness to be as inclusive as possible. Continue reading 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration

An Affair to Remember?

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in “An Affair to Remember” (1957). Source: https://goo.gl/2vwUTs.

A mysterious online message reading, “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now” may be unlikely to immediately instil fear into many of us non-Noels. However, as of this afternoon, things have got more than a little uncomfortable for Avid Life Media’s CEO, Noel Biderman, and quite possibly 37.5 million other individuals across the world.

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Ethical Standards: Journalism vs Academics. Is it time for universal ethic guidelines?

This week, we are delighted to introduce a guest blog from our CaSMa intern, Levi Rickman! Levi is in the closing stages  of her Psychology degree at Nottingham Trent University, and is currently working with us on Phase II of the “Exploring Academic Attitudes to Social Media Research Ethics” project.

leviWhen I started my Internship with CaSMa a few weeks ago, I had a limited understanding of the ethical issues surrounding social media
research and, therefore, this was the main area for me to focus on. Having studied Psychology for five years, I have grown accustomed to the ethical guidelines that researchers must consider in order to have their projects approved by ethic committees, including informed consent, minimisation of potential harm to participants, and so on. These ethical issues can easily be dealt with when researching individuals in a laboratory setting, but pose a slightly more difficult challenge when trying to apply the same set of codes to research online, and particularly data produced on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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Digital Economy Web Science & Big Data Summer School

And now for something a little different…

I am very excited to announce that over the next few days I will be attending the Digital Economy Web Science & Big Data Summer School, held at the University of Southampton! In the words of the University’s Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training, here’s the rationale underpinning the event :

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CaSMa in The Conversation: Most of us don’t read the social media small print – and it’s a data goldmine for third parties

image-20150615-5816-5huim1The history of human experiments often focuses on biomedical research and the gradual changes in acceptable practice and ethical considerations. But another class of human experiments that has had its own share of controversies is the study of human behaviour.

Internet Mediate Human Behaviour Research (IMHBR) is primarily defined by its use of the internet to obtain data about participants. While some of the research involves active participation with research subjects directly engaging with the research, for example through online surveys or experimental tasks, many studies take advantage of “found text” in blogs, discussion forums or other online spaces, analyses of hits on websites, or observation of other types of online activity such as search engine histories or logs of actions in online games.

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Would you consent to having your social media data used in this study?

ConsentSurveyAs part of the “Conditions for Consent to analyze Social Media data” project within CaSMa, we have recently launched a survey to ask for your views about the type of information you would want to have before participating in social media research.

Willing consent from all parties involved in a transaction is generally accepted to be a corner stone in the foundation of ethical behavior, no matter if the interaction is of a personal (e.g. sex), professional (e.g. participation as research subject) or public (e.g. being quoted in the media) nature¹. And yet, when dealing with research, or any other interactions online, the mere facts that the interaction is mediated by machines appears to blur this fundamental concept in people’s minds.

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CaSMa at the ICISSP 2015

ICISSP2015_bannerFrom February 9 to 11 Ansgar participated on behalf of CaSMa at the ICISSP 2015 (1st International Conference on Information System Security and Privacy) conference in Angers, France. The conference featured talks covering both technical and social issues that were addresses both from practical and theoretical perspectives. Topics included Data and Software Security, Trust, Privacy and Confidentiality, Mobile Systems Security, and Biometric Authentication.

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