Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228728
 
 

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Mechanical Turk is Not Anonymous


Matthew Lease


University of Texas at Austin

Jessica Hullman


University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Jeffrey P. Bigham


University of Rochester

Michael S. Bernstein


Stanford University

Juho Kim


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Walter Lasecki


University of Rochester

Saeideh Bakhshi


Georgia Institute of Technology

Tanushree Mitra


Georgia Institute of Technology

Robert C. Miller


MIT CSAIL

March 6, 2013


Abstract:     
While Amazon's Mechanical Turk (AMT) online workforce has been characterized by many people as being anonymous, we expose an aspect of AMT's system design that can be exploited to reveal a surprising amount of information about many AMT Workers, which may include personally identifying information (PII). This risk of PII exposure may surprise many Workers and Requesters today, as well as impact current institutional review board (IRB) oversight of human subjects research involving AMT Workers as participants.

We assess the potential multi-faceted impact of such PII exposure for each stakeholder group: Workers, Requesters, and AMT itself. We discuss potential remedies each group may explore, as well as the responsibility of each group with regard to privacy protection. This discussion leads us to further situate issues of crowd worker privacy amidst broader ethical, economic, and regulatory issues, and we conclude by offering a set of recommendations to each stakeholder group.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: crowdsourcing, human computation, privacy, regulation

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Date posted: March 9, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Lease, Matthew and Hullman, Jessica and Bigham, Jeffrey P. and Bernstein, Michael S. and Kim, Juho and Lasecki, Walter and Bakhshi , Saeideh and Mitra, Tanushree and Miller, Robert C., Mechanical Turk is Not Anonymous (March 6, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228728 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2228728

Contact Information

Matthew Lease (Contact Author)
University of Texas at Austin ( email )
Austin, TX 78712
United States
HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~ml
Jessica Hullman
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )
HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jhullman/
Jeffrey P. Bigham
University of Rochester ( email )
300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.cs.rochester.edu/~jbigham/
Michael S. Bernstein
Stanford University ( email )
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
Juho Kim
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory ( email )
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.juhokim.com/
Walter Lasecki
University of Rochester ( email )
300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.cs.rochester.edu/~wlasecki/
Saeideh Bakhshi
Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~sbakhshi/
Tanushree Mitra
Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tanushree-mitra/1a/648/778
Robert C. Miller
MIT CSAIL ( email )
32 Vassar St
Cambridge, MA 02139
HOME PAGE: http://www.mit.edu/~rcm
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References:  64
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