Privacy Considerations for Public Storytelling
Keywords:privacy, weblogs, research ethics, human subjects research
The popularity of the web and social media have afforded researchers unparalleled access to content about the daily lives of people. Human research ethics guidelines, while actively expanding to meet the new challenges posed by web research, still rely on offline principles of interaction that are a poor fit to modern technology. In this context, we present a study of the identifiability of authors of socially sensitive content. With the goal of identity obfuscation, we compare this to the identifiability of the same content translated to and then back from a foreign language, focusing on how easily a person could locate the original source of the content. We discuss the risk to these authors presented by dissemination of their content, and consider the implications for research ethics guidelines.