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Academics ‘Livid,’ ‘Concerned’ Over Allegations that CMU Helped FBI Attack Tor – Motherboard (Ethan Zuckerman 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on December 13, 2015

“On Wednesday, Motherboard reported that a “university-based academic research institute” had been providing information to the FBI, leading to the identification of criminal suspects on the dark web.

Circumstantial evidence pointed to Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Software Engineering Institute and an attack carried out against Tor last year. After the publication of Motherboard’s report, the Tor Project said it had learned that CMU was paid at least $1 million for the project.

On Thursday, other academics who focus on the dark web and criminal marketplaces expressed anger and concern at CMU’s alleged behavior, feeling that the research broke ethical guidelines, and may have a knock-on effect on other research looking into this space.

“These revelations are likely to have a chilling effect on research. It can be much harder to gain people’s trust when they can point to examples of researchers who have actively helped law enforcement operations,” Monica Barratt, a research fellow from the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre in Australia who has researched the use of Silk Road in various countries, told Motherboard in an email.”

Click here to read the full story

Call for better ethical standards in social media research – Research (Jane Bainbridge 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on November 22, 2015

Interesting report from the UK discussing the research use of social media, other personal information and metadata.

UK — Ipsos MORI and Demos have released a report urging an improvement in the ethical standards of social media research, amid public concern about how researchers are using social media data.

“A new report #SocialEthics found low public awareness that information on social media can be mined for research compared with other uses of social media data such as to target advertising. So while just 38% of the public are aware their social media posts are potentially being analysed for research projects, 57% are aware of it being used for ad targeting and 54% that it can be used to personalise the content they see on that network.

“Last year the Samaritans pulled its Radar app, which was designed to detect when people on Twitter appeared to be suicidal by analysing accounts for phrases such as ‘tired of being alone’, ‘depressed’ and ‘need someone to talk to’, after criticism including that it hadn’t taken into account people’s privacy sufficiently.”

The Research news item (…/call-for-bet…/4014180.article) includes a link to the report.

Access a copy of the news report
Download a PDF copy of the IPSOS MORI report

Reform of Clinical Research Regulations, Finally (PAPERS: E. J. Emanuel, M.D. 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on November 18, 2015

“In 1972, Jean Heller of the Associated Press reported on a 40-year-old research study that had followed black Alabama sharecroppers, some of whom had syphilis. The revelation of deception, withholding of appropriate treatment, and other unethical practices exploded into the Tuskegee scandal. Tuskegee led to the National Research Act of 1974, which authorized the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]) to augment government policies for protecting human research subjects.1 The protections, ultimately codified as 45 Code of Federal Regulations 46 (45 CFR 46), specify requirements for valid institutional review board (IRB) assessment of most human-subjects research and informed consent by research participants.2

In the decade after 1974, specific safeguards were added for pregnant women, fetuses, neonates, children, and prisoners. For instance, research involving prisoners, such as commonly conducted early-phase drug studies, was severely restricted; only research on “possible causes, effects, and processes of incarceration, and of criminal behavior, prisoners as incarcerated persons, [and] . . . conditions particularly affecting prisoners as a class” was permitted. In 1991, many other (though not all) federal departments and agencies adopted the main part of 45 CFR 46 for their human-subjects research, which became known as the Common Rule.”

Emanuel, E. J. (2015). Reform of Clinical Research Regulations, Finally. New England Journal of Medicine.
Retrieved from

Social Science Research Ethics for a Globalizing World: Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Books: Keerty Nakray, Margaret Alston, Kerri Whittenbury)0

Posted by Admin in on October 31, 2015

“Research in the humanities and social sciences thrives on critical reflections that unfold with each research project, not only in terms of knowledge created, but in whether chosen methodologies served their purpose. Ethics forms the bulwark of any social science research methodology and it requires continuous engagement and reengagement for the greater advancement of knowledge. Each chapter in this book will draw from the empirical knowledge created through intensive fieldwork and provide an account of ethical questions faced by the contributors, placing them in the context of contemporary debates surrounding the theory and practice of ethics. The chapters have been thematically organized into five sections: Feminist Ethics: Cross-Cultural Reflections and Its Implications for Change; Researching Physical and Sexual Violence in Non-Academic Settings: A Need for Ethical Protocols; Human Agency, Reciprocity, Participation and Activism: Meanings for Social Science Research Ethics; Emotions, Conflict and Dangerous Fields: Issues of “Safety” and Reflective Research; and Social Science Education: Training in Ethics or “Ethical Training” and “Ethical Publicizing.” This inter-disciplinary volume will interest students and researchers in academic and non-academic settings in core disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology, Law, Political Science, International Relations, Geography, or inter-disciplinary degrees in Development Studies, Health Studies, Public Health Policy, Social Policy, Health Policy, Psychology, Peace and Conflict studies, and Gender Studies. The book features a foreword by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.”

Nakray, K., Alston, M., & Whittenbury, K. (2016). Social science research ethics for a globalizing world: interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives. Routledge. URL