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[liberationtech] Research project on privacy and encryption
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
joe at cdt.org
Mon Mar 21 07:02:17 PDT 2016
Having done (and hoping to do more!) qualitative interview research in
the past, I wonder if researchers like Prof. Oltmann are concerned
about the FBI recently subpoenaing research data sets for
investigations/prosecutions. While there may not be much of interest
to the FBI in any given study such as this, I'm wondering if
researchers are starting to factor in the FBI into their data
collection and analysis protocols. For medical studies funded by NIH,
there are Certificates of Confidentiality (
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coc/index.htm ) that can prevent
subpoenaing of data, but I know non-medical research cannot obtain
those kinds of protections.
Anyway, not that anything in this particular study prompted this, just
a slew of growing concerns from me and wondering if anyone on libtech
has heard of more coordinated, coherent approaches to doing research
with data that may be subject to subpoena.
On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 1:51 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at stanford.edu> wrote:
> From: Shannon M Oltmann <shannon.oltmann at uky.edu>
> Hello! I am conducting a new research project, interviewing people who use
> encryption for personal (non-work related) use. Please read more about the
> project below and contact me if interested in participating. Thanks for your
> You are invited to take part in a research study about the use of encryption
> for hard drives and/or email.
> The purpose of this study is to find out more about reasons people use
> encryption and to better understand all perspectives. Although you will not
> get personal benefit from taking part in this research study, your responses
> may help us understand more about why people use encryption and about
> different perspectives.
> I would like to interview you about your perspective.
> I hope to complete approximately 50 interviews, so your answers are
> important to me. Of course, you have a choice about whether or not to
> complete the interview, but if you do participate, you are free to skip any
> questions or discontinue at any time.
> The interview will last 30-45 minutes. It will be performed over the
> telephone unless you request another format. With your permission, the
> interview will be audio recorded and later transcribed for analysis. Both
> the audio and the transcription will be stored in a locked filing cabinet or
> on an encrypted drive. There are no known risks beyond what is experienced
> in everyday life to participating in this study. Your response to the survey
> will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law. When I write about
> the study you will not be identified.
> Before you decide whether to accept this invitation to take part in the
> study, please ask any questions that might come to mind now. If you have
> questions about the study, please feel free to ask; my contact information
> is given below.
> Thank you in advance for your assistance with this important project.
> Dr. Shannon M. Oltmann
> Assistant Professor
> School of Information Science
> University of Kentucky
> shannon.oltmann at uky.edu
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Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Chief Technologist, Center for Democracy & Technology [https://www.cdt.org]
e: joe at cdt.org, p: 202.407.8825, pgp: https://josephhall.org/gpg-key
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