Not to fan the flames on the social justice warriors.”I suppose I am one of those “social justice warriors” he's talking about. Rather, we should highlight this episode as one among the growing list of big data research projects that rely on some notion of “public” social media data, yet ultimately fail to stand up to ethical scrutiny.The Harvard “Tastes, Ties, and Time” dataset is no longer publicly accessible. And it appears Kirkegaard, at least for the time being, has removed the Ok Cupid data from his open repository.is an all-too-familiar refrain used to gloss over thorny ethical concerns.The most important, and often least understood, concern is that even if someone knowingly shares a single piece of information, big data analysis can publicize and amplify it in a way the person never intended or agreed.As Kirkegaard stated: “Data is already public.” No harm, no ethical foul right? Many of the basic requirements of research ethics—protecting the privacy of subjects, obtaining informed consent, maintaining the confidentiality of any data collected, minimizing harm—are not sufficiently addressed in this scenario.
However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it in a more useful form.
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While he replied, so far he has refused to answer my questions or engage in a meaningful discussion (he is currently at a conference in London).