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    “Un-Googling”: Research Technologies, Communities at Risk and the Ethics of User Studies in HCI

    HCI2012 - People & Computers XXVI

    Proceedings of HCI 2012
    The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction

    Birmingham, UK, 12 - 14 September 2012


    Irina Shklovski & Janet Vertesi


    Recent increase in volume of qualitative work on transnational technologies, HCI for development, virtual communities, and collaborative systems across a range of areas has resulted in focus on user communities whose very uniqueness may be of interest to HCI, but whose exposure in a research setting presents real threats to those individual’s or community’s livelihoods, work, or civil liberties. As the tools of research dissemination increasingly make scholarly publications more easily accessible to the public and other entities outside the academic community through simple search engines, scholars must grapple with new challenges to the ethics of exposure. We present a case-study of un-Googling publication of research results and consider potential problems with such an approach to minimizing risk to research participants.


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