Creating a Platform for the Sharing of Sensitive Online Data


In November, 2018, with the support of the Sloan Foundation, we convened a group to discuss the prospects of creating a shared framework for the sharing of sensitive online data. The objective was to evaluate how to share large-scale social and digital data sets provided directly by platforms and/or collected by researchers; while respecting the privacy interests of individuals represented in the data. Key questions to be considered: How do we guarantee the security of the data? How do we monitor access to the data? How do we establish a replication process that satisfies the needs of journals, open science, and the terms of service for working with social media data sets? What are the legal ramifications of combining survey data with social media data? What are the best practices for running large scale media usage surveys? Are there practical and ethical ways to monitor media consumption on mobile devices? What is the optimal organizational structure for such an institute?

As part of this workshop, we convened a diverse set of experts to consider these and other questions, and as part of discussions we asked many of them to write short white papers on the issues raised in such an endeavor. We share them here with the aspiration to support efforts at ethical data sharing around the world.