Ethics

One of my lab’s major research areas is technology ethics – including related topics such as privacy and ethics education – and this is also a focus of my own public scholarship and outreach.

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

Research ethics for pervasive data. What can we learn from social media users about privacy and content norms that can inform best practices around research? What are the current practices of researchers? Focuses on Terms of Service violations, social media privacy, public perceptions, and controversy analysis (including the Facebook emotional contagion study). (Collaborations with Nicholas Proferes at University of Kentucky, CU Comm PhD student Blake Hallinan, CU INFO PhD students Brianna Dym and Natalie Garrett, INFO faculty Brian Keegan, former CU student Nate Beard, and PERVADE PIs) [Funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the larger PERVADE team] [Publications: Social Media + Society 2018] [Press: SlateThe Denver Post, The Denver Post 2, The Daily Camera, The Daily Camera 2, KUNC, Lexington Herald Ledger, FiveThirtyEight, Fast Company, Wired, Wired 2, The Guardian, ABC radio, CBC] [Public scholarship: Social media research ethics (How We Get to Next)Data Scraping & TOS (Medium), Cambridge Analytica & Research (Slate)] [Workshops: CSCW 2015, ICWSM 2016, GROUP 2016, CSCW 2017ICWSM 2018]

Ethics and design for vulnerable populations. As researchers or designers, how should we take into account norms and special safety considerations for vulnerable communities online? Our first case study for this question is LGBTQ fandom communities. (Lead Researcher: PhD student Brianna Dym) [Funded in part by the NSF project PERVADE] [Publications: CSCW 2018 poster, TWC essay 2018]

Ethics prep for tech companies. What are the most relevant ethical concerns for tech companies? This ongoing research focuses on controversy analysis, with future plans for working directly with start-ups. (Lead Researcher: PhD Student Natalie Garrett)

Ethics education. How can we best teach technology ethics? Integrated across curriculum? With speculative fiction? This research involves both classroom innovation and analysis of existing practices among those teaching tech ethics. (Collaboration with PhD student Natalie Garrett, former CU grad students Mike Skirpan and Nate Beard, and CS faculty Tom Yeh) [Publications: SIGCSE 2018 (Third Best Paper Award)] [Press: Boing Boing 1, Boing Boing 2, The Conversation, The Daily Texan, The Nation] [Public Scholarship: Tech Ethics Syllabi (Medium), CS Ethics Education (How We Get to Next), Black Mirror (How We Get to Next)]

Ethics through design fiction. How can we use creative speculation and negative design patterns to think through the ethical implications of technology? We are creating design fictions ourselves, as well as exploring how to support this practice for others. [Publications: GROUP 2018, TWC essay 2018] [Press: Boing Boing] [Public Scholarship: Black Mirror (How We Get to Next)] [Workshop: CHI4Evil (CHI 2019)]

PAST RESEARCH PROJECTS

Public perceptions of tech ethics. Analysis of attitudes towards tech ethics and policy “in the wild” via public reactions to data sharing and privacy controversies in the media. (Collaboration with CU Comm student Blake Hallinan) [Publication: CHI 2018] [Press: local news (ABC7, ABC13, FOX31, and FOX8 in Denver), Refinery29, ] [Public scholarship: TOS (Slate), Facebook (Medium), Privacy & Digital Footprints (Medium)]

Data risk perception. How do experts and non-experts perceive risk around emerging, big data technologies? Recreation of a class risk perception survey in the next context of big data. (Lead Researcher: Former CU CS PhD student Mike Skirpan, in collaboration with CS faculty Tom Yeh) [Publications: CHI 2018]

Content & privacy on Facebook. Qualitative+quantitative analysis of Facebook content, discerning whether there are substantive differences in content based on privacy settings. Large corpus of Facebook status updates gathered from Mechanical Turk. (Conducted as a collaboration with other social computing PhD students and faculty at Georgia Tech.) [Publications: CSCW 2017]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dym, Brianna, and Casey Fiesler. “Vulnerable and Online: Fandom’s Case for Stronger Privacy Norms and Tools.” In Companion of the 2018 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, pp. 329-332. ACM (2018).

Dym, Brianna, and Casey Fiesler. “Generations, migrations, and the future of fandom’s private spaces.” Transformative Works and Cultures 28 (2018).

Fiesler, Casey, and Blake Hallinan. “‘We Are the Product’: Public Reactions to Online Data Sharing and Privacy Controversies in the Media.” In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), p. 53. ACM (2018).

Skirpan, Michael Warren, Tom Yeh, and Casey Fiesler. “What’s at Stake: Characterizing Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies.” In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), p. 70. ACM (2018).

Fiesler, Casey and Nicholas Proferes. “‘Participant’ Perceptions of Twitter Research Ethics.” Social Media + Society (2018).

Skirpan, Michael, Nathan Beard, Srinjita Bhaduri, Casey Fiesler, and Tom Yeh. “Ethics Education in Context: A Case Study of Novel Ethics Activities for the CS Classroom.” In Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), pp. 940-945. ACM (2018).

Fiesler, Casey, Michaelanne Dye, Jessica L. Feuston, Chaya Hiruncharoenvate, Clayton J. Hutto, Shannon Morrison, Parisa Khanipour Roshan et al. “What (or who) is public?: Privacy settings and social media content sharing.” In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), pp. 567-580. ACM (2017).

PUBLIC WRITING

Scientists Like Me Are Studying Your Tweets–Are You Okay with That? How We Get to Next. March 19, 2019.

If You’re Worried About Your Digital Footprint, Don’t Destroy It–Make it BetterMedium. January 18, 2019.

What Our Tech Ethics Crisis Says About the State of Computer Science Education. How We Get to Next. December 5, 2018.

Black Mirror, Light Mirror: Teaching Technology Ethics Through SpeculationHow We Get to Next. October 15, 2018.

Tech Ethics Curricula: A Collection of Syllabi. Medium. July 5, 2018.

Why Data Sharing & Privacy Controversies Aren’t Killing Social Media Platforms. Medium. March 22, 2018.

One Way Facebook Can Stop the Next Cambridge AnalyticaSlate. March 18, 2018. (With Jake Metcalf)

Law & Ethics of Scraping: What HiQ vs LinkedIn Could Mean for Researchers Violating TOSMedium. August 15, 2017.

PRESS COVERAGE

Slate – 3 June 2019 – Should researchers be allowed to use YouTube videos and tweets?

The Nation – 21 February 2019 – Fixing Tech’s Ethics Problem Starts in the Classroom

ABC Denver7 (TV) – 21 January 2019 – Clearing your past on social media

Boing Boing – 19 November 2018 – How To Use Science Fiction to Teach Ethics

The Daily Texan – 15 October 2018 – STEM Classrooms Should Bring Ethics to the Forefront

Wired – 1 August 2018 – The sadness of deleting your old tweets

FiveThirtyEight – 27 July 2018 – Your tweets are somehow worthy of scientific study

Wired – 24 July 2018 – Was It Ethical for Dropbox to Share Customer Data with Scientists?

Lab Manager Magazine – 16 April 2018 – The data debacle: Most unaware their tweets are being studied

Lexington Herald Ledger – 12 April 2018 – Researchers use your tweets without your ok

Colorado Politics – 10 April 2018 – Colorado was potential target of Facebook data breach, IT expert says 

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Radio) – 25 March 2018 – Could the next Cambridge Analytica be prevented by opening access to data? 

The Current on CBC (Radio) – 24 March 2018 – Cambridge Analytica and ethical codes of content

KUNC Radio – 22 March 2018 – Your tweets can be used for science – with or without your permission, CU Boulder explains 

The Denver Post – 21 March 2018 – CU Boulder Study: Majority of Twitter Users Don’t Know Researchers Collect, Analyze Their Tweets

The Daily Camera – 21 March 2018 – CU Boulder study probes ethics of researchers’ use of Twitter data

The Guardian – 18 March 2018 – Data scandal is huge blow for Facebook – and efforts to study its impact on society.

Refinery29 – 18 March 2018 – Cambridge Analytica’s “expectation violation” is the new normal in elections

The Conversation – 17 January 2018 – STEAM not STEM: Why Scientists Need Arts Training

Boing Boing – 20 November 2017 – More than 50 Tech Ethics Courses, with Links to Syllabi

The Daily Camera – 23 September 2017 – At CU Boulder, Teaching Tech Companies, Researchers, How To Use Big Data Ethically

The Denver Post –  18 September 2017 – Researchers Are Studying Your Social Media; What Do You Think of That?

Fast Company – 27 August 2017 – Bots Are Scraping Your Data For Cash Amid Murky Law and Ethics 

TEACHING

I teach a cross-listed grad/undergrad class (Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019) in Information Science at CU titled Ethical & Policy Dimensions of Information, Technology, and New Media.