The paper Privacy in Participatory Research: Advancing Policy to support Human Computation by Anne Bowser and Andrea Wiggins explains the important role played by privacy and privacy related policy in participatory research activities. The participatory research activities focused on in this paper are Citizen Science and Participatory Sensing. So what is Citizen Science and Participatory Sensing? Citizen Science (CS) is the involvement of volunteers in scientific research , which allows scientists to gather and analyze larger and more diverse data by using volunteers to crowdsource the data collection . In contrast Participatory Sensing (PS) uses mobile devices and phones to create interactive, participatory sensor networks that enable public and professional users to gather, analyze and share local knowledge. The applications are especially designed to provide direct utility to participants and external parties such as researchers.
The ethical implications of their findings for project management, design and research are plenty. The Belmont report suggests that research participants should be informed about the risks and benefits involved in participation. However, most projects did not inform participants about the types of information collected during registration and data collection nor how the information will be used. They either omitted the information or presented it in a confusing manner. These practices are contrary to respect for persons and participant primacy. Transparency is also a major legal issue that Bowser and Wiggins touch upon.
They conclude the paper by proposing a set of ethical practices for Participatory Research Design as guidelines to inform the development of policies and the design of technologies supporting participatory research. They suggest that project leaders should incorporate Ethical principles for Participatory Research Design into their decision-making process when establishing or revising policies and practices. Working with these principles will remind both project leaders and technology developers of the fundamental importance of respectful relationships with volunteers, without whom project goals cannot be achieved.
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