Online dating encyclopedia
As a result, researchers using the Internet as a tool for and/or a space of research—and their research ethics boards (REBs), also known as institutional review boards (IRBs) in the United States or human research ethics committees (HRECs) in other countries such as Australia—have been confronted with a series of new ethical questions: What ethical obligations do researchers have to protect the privacy of subjects engaging in activities in “public” Internet spaces? Is there any reasonable expectation of privacy in an era of pervasive and ubiquitous surveillance and data tracking?
How is confidentiality or anonymity assured online?
Internet-based research, broadly defined, is research which utilizes the Internet to collect information through an online tool, such as an online survey; studies about how people use the Internet, e.g., through collecting data and/or examining activities in or on any online environments; and/or, uses of online datasets, databases, or repositories.
For example, the concept of the public park has been used as a site where researchers might observe others with little ethical controversy, but online, the concepts of public versus private are much more complex.Is deception (pretending to be someone you are not, withholding identifiable information, etc) online a norm or a harm?How is “harm” possible to someone existing in an online space?Specifically, the emergence of the social web raises issues around subject or participant recruitment practices, tiered informed consent models, and protection of various expectations and forms of privacy in an ever-increasing world of diffused and ubiquitous technologies; anonymity and confidentiality of data in spaces where researchers and their subjects may not fully understand the terms and conditions of those venues or tools; challenges to data integrity as research projects can be outsourced or crowdsourced to online labor marketplaces; and jurisdictional issues as more research is processed, stored, and disseminated via cloud computing or in remote server locales, presenting myriad legal complexities given jurisdictional differences in data laws.Further, the emergence of big data research has grown and has become the next discrete phase of Internet research, following social media and social computing.
How is and should informed consent be obtained online?