A Multi-Case Study Of Research Using Mobile Imaging, Sensing And Tracking Technologies To Objectively Measure Behavior: Ethical Issues And Insights To Guide Responsible Research Practice

TitleA Multi-Case Study Of Research Using Mobile Imaging, Sensing And Tracking Technologies To Objectively Measure Behavior: Ethical Issues And Insights To Guide Responsible Research Practice
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsNebeker, C, Linares-Orozco, R, Crist, K
JournalJournal of Research Administration
Volume46
Issue1
Pagination118-137
Date PublishedSpring2015
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number15391590
KeywordsGPS , Human , location , pervasive , research , wearable
AbstractIntroduction: The increased availability of mobile sensing technologies is creating a paradigm shift for health research by creating new opportunities for measuring and monitoring behavior. For example, researchers can now collect objective information about a participant's daily activity using wearable devices that have: 1- Global Positioning System (GPS) to capture location; 2- an outwardly facing camera to document environmental and social context; and, 3- an accelerometer to measure activity levels. While these technologies may offer more accurate means of measuring and understanding behavior, they introduce potential privacy and data security risks for participants as well as for bystanders. The aim of this study was to describe potential risks and risk management strategies in studies using visual imaging and location logging (GPS) data collection methods. Methods: Eight Institutional Review Board (IRB) research protocol applications that included visual imaging and/or GPS data collection methods were identified. Each research protocol application and IRB determination letter was analyzed with the a priori themes of identification of risks (e.g., privacy concerns, data security) and risk management strategies (e.g., disclosure, firewalls) associated with each device. Results: Visual imaging was proposed in four of the eights studies. GPS was included in all eight studies. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology was proposed in all but one study to improve analytics. The findings reveal that: 1) IRBs are grappling with how to consider the rights of bystanders who may be imaged by virtue of being near a research participant; 2) IRBs may not be sufficiently aware of potential risks associated with collection of location data should a data breach occur; and, 3) while research plans incorporated consistent descriptions of each device and associated potential risks, IRB determination letters revealed inconsistent perception of potential study risks. Conclusions: This paper sheds light on ethical issues when using visual imaging and location logging technologies in research. 
NotesNebeker, Camille 1; Email Address: nebeker@ucsd.edu; Linares-Orozco, Rubi 2; Crist, Katie 3; Affiliations: 1: School of Medicine, UC San Diego; 2: Health Policy and Law, Graduate Student UC San Diego; 3: Public Health, Graduate Student Department of Family Medicine and Public Health UC San Diego; Issue Info: Spring2015, Vol. 46 Issue 1, p118; Author-Supplied Keyword: GPS; Author-Supplied Keyword: human subjects; Author-Supplied Keyword: location logging; Author-Supplied Keyword: pervasive imaging; Author-Supplied Keyword: research ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: wearable camera; Number of Pages: 20p; Document Type: Article

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