Applying Ethical Principles to Information and Communication Technology Research: A Companion to the Menlo Report

33 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2013 Last revised: 30 Mar 2014

David Dittrich

University of Washington

Erin Kenneally

Elchemy; University of California San Diego; UC San Diego, CAIDA

Michael Bailey

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - College of Engineering

Date Written: October 8, 2013

Abstract

Researchers are faced with time-driven competitive pressures to research and publish, to achieve tenure, and to deliver on grant funding proposals. That ethical considerations can be incongruent with these incentives is neither novel nor unique to information and communication technology (ICT) research. Those conducting ICT research (ICTR) do, however, face a different breed of tensions that can impact research ethics risks. Unfortunately, institutionalized guidance on the protection of research subjects has not kept pace with the rapid transformations in information technology and infrastructure that have catalyzed changes in research substance and mechanics.

The Menlo Report summarizes a set of basic principles to guide the identification and resolution of ethical issues in research about or involving ICT. It illuminates a need to interpret and extend traditional ethical principles to enable ICT researchers and oversight entities to appropriately and consistently assess and render ethically defensible research. The framework it proposes can support current and potential institutional mechanisms that are well served to implement and enforce these principles, such as a research ethics board (REB). The Menlo Report is not an official policy statement of the Department of Homeland Security, but rather, offers guidance primarily for ICT researchers in academia and the private sector who may be funded by the government, as well as corporate and independent researchers, professional societies, publication review committees, and funding agencies.

This Companion is a complement to the Menlo Report that details the principles and applications more granularly and illustrates their implementation in real and synthetic case studies. It is fundamentally intended for the benefit of society, by illuminating the potential for harm to humans (either directly or indirectly) and by helping researchers understand and preempt or minimize these risks in the lifecycle of their research. This document integrates comments received after the December 28, 2011 publication of the Menlo Report in the Federal Register.

Keywords: ethics, ICT, computer crime, law, computer network security, computer security, professional societies, technology social factors

Suggested Citation

Dittrich, David and Kenneally, Erin and Bailey, Michael, Applying Ethical Principles to Information and Communication Technology Research: A Companion to the Menlo Report (October 8, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2342036

David Dittrich (Contact Author)

University of Washington ( email )

TLB 307C Box 358426
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
United States

Erin E. Kenneally

UC San Diego, CAIDA

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Elchemy; University of California San Diego ( email )

8677 Villa La Jolla Drive # 1133
La Jolla, CA 92037
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.elchemy.org

Michael Bailey

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - College of Engineering ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

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