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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsThe Ethics of Research on Leaked Data: Ashley Madison – Discover (Neuroskeptic | July 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Ethics of Research on Leaked Data: Ashley Madison – Discover (Neuroskeptic | July 2018)

Published/Released on July 14, 2018 | Posted by Admin on July 22, 2018 / , , , , , , ,
 


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A paper just published reports that Republicans are more likely to have used the adultery website Ashley Madison than Democrats, while Libertarians were even more likely to do so.

Institutional and national research ethics review arrangements often exempt data that is already on the public record. Are you local arrangements nuanced enough to treat hacked and leaked data differently? An observation about the Ashley Madison data, which has been made before, is that while it’s a huge set of international data set in an area where data is notoriously hard to collect (infidelity) it actually has numerous flaws that probably makes it useless. We’ve included links to nine related items.

That’s a claim that could ruffle some feathers, but the way in which the researchers conducted this study might be even more controversial. That’s because this paper is based on the 2015 Ashley Madison data leak, which exposed the personal data, including names and credit-card details, of millions of registered users.
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For this study, the authors, Kodi B. Arfer and Jason J. Jones, took the leaked data and matched it up against voter registration records for five U.S. states. They considered a voter to be an active Ashley Madison user if they had ever paid money to the website. About 1 in 500 voters met these criteria.
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Those voters registered as Libertarians were most likely to be active users, even controlling for age, gender and state. Registered Republicans came next and Democrats were least likely.
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