social networks

The Ethics of Social Honeypots

For the last few years, I have been participating in a Department of Homeland Security sponsored effort to develop principles and applications for the evaluation of information and communication technology (ICT) research. If you are not familiar with the Menlo Report, you can find a description in Michael Bailey, David Dittrich, Erin Kenneally, and Douglas Maughan. The Menlo Report. Security & Privacy, IEEE, 10(2):71–75, March/April 2012.

I and two of my Menlo colleagues -- Wendy Vischer and Erin Kenneally -- recently taught a didactic course at the PRIM&R Advancing Ethical Research conference in San Diego. (PRIM&R is the conference for Institutional Review Board, or IRB, professionals, with the annual AER conference having thousands of attendees). Our course primarily described the Menlo Report process to date, but we concluded with a mock IRB committee review of a fictional proposed research project in which researchers develop countermeasures to malicious botnets in social network platforms like Facebook using a combination of deception to build a social network of over 1 million users and to then use "good bots" that infiltrate the "bad bots".

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