As social media relentlessly works to establish itself as a mainstay in all aspects of our communication, three consequences become increasingly evident: the constant remapping of social media to serve new purposes threatens to make digital competencies a requirement even for those who currently consider themselves safe from it; the more social media develops in complexity and utility, the more it reveals new associated dangers; there are tremendous intellectual and economic opportunities stemming from the need to address both these issues. Continue reading Personal risk and social media. Holiday reading→
The 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.
With the ever evolving and expanding interest in, and uses for, user related data, and the ever growing amount of user generated data, criticism of standard practice around ‘Terms & Conditions’ (T&Cs) as means for gaining ‘informed’ consent from users for accessing and using their data is becoming ever more vocal.
Internet is frequently held to be transforming social relationships, the economy, and vast areas of public and private life across all ages and, probably very soon, across all cultures no matter how remotely they are located (thanks to initiatives like Internet.org). Such arguments are routinely recycled in popular debates, in advertising and publicity materials, and indeed in academic contexts as well. Research discussions of the internet veer between celebration and paranoia; on the one hand the technology is seen to create new forms of community and civic life and to offer immense resources for personal liberation and empowerment, while on the other it poses dangers to privacy, to create new forms of inequality and commercial exploitation, as well as leaving the individual prey to addiction and pornography. Continue reading Internet on Trial: Celebration or Paranoia?→