Ethical issues online dating
Michael Zimmer, Ph D, is a privacy and Internet ethics scholar.He is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Director of the Center for Information Policy Research.ACA Chief Professional Officer David Kaplan conducted the following interview with ACA Ethical Code Revision Task Force Chair Michael Kocet. Sexual or romantic interactions with clients continue to be prohibited? The 2005 ACA Code of Ethics continues to recognize the harm that can be impacted upon clients when they are sexually intimate with their counselor.
DK: That relates to malpractice suits and the one exception that liability companies such as the ACA Insurance Trust make about sexual contact with a client.
All liability insurance policies that I have seen provide a lawyer and defend a counselor if he or she is accused of sexual contact with a client.
The “already public” excuse was used in 2008, when Harvard researchers released the first wave of their “Tastes, Ties and Time” dataset comprising four years’ worth of complete Facebook profile data harvested from the accounts of cohort of 1,700 college students.
And it appeared again in 2010, when Pete Warden, a former Apple engineer, exploited a flaw in Facebook’s architecture to amass a database of names, fan pages, and lists of friends for 215 million public Facebook accounts, and announced plans to make his database of over 100 GB of user data publicly available for further academic research.
a group of Danish researchers publicly released a dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site Ok Cupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex) they’re interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site.
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When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. Kirkegaard, who was lead on the work, replied bluntly: “No.Editor’s note: American Counseling Association members received the 2005 ACA Code of Ethics bundled with the December 2005 issue of Counseling Today.Completed over a three-year period, this revision of the ethical code is the first in a decade and includes major updates in areas such as confidentiality, dual relationships, the use of technology in counseling, selecting interventions, record keeping, end-of-life issues and cultural sensitivity.All ACA members are required to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics, and 22 state licensing boards use it as the basis for adjudicating complaints of ethical violations.As a service to members, Counseling Today is publishing a monthly column focused on new or updated aspects of the ACA Code of Ethics (the ethics code is also available online at Concerns over consent, privacy and anonymity do not disappear simply because subjects participate in online social networks; rather, they become even more important. The Ok Cupid data release reminds us that the ethical, research, and regulatory communities must work together to find consensus and minimize harm.We must address the conceptual muddles present in big data research.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.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).Numerous posts interrogating the ethical dimensions of the research methodology have been removed from the Open open peer-review forum for the draft article, since they constitute, in Kirkegaard’s eyes, “non-scientific discussion.” (It should be noted that Kirkegaard is one of the authors of the article the moderator of the forum intended to provide open peer-review of the research.) When contacted by Motherboard for comment, Kirkegaard was dismissive, stating he “would like to wait until the heat has declined a bit before doing any interviews.