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Transl Behav Med. 2016 Dec;6(4):577-586.

Engaging research participants to inform the ethical conduct of mobile imaging, pervasive sensing, and location tracking research.

Author information

1
Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, The Qualcomm Institute, Calit2, La Jolla, CA, USA. nebeker@ucsd.eng.edu.
2
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA. nebeker@ucsd.eng.edu.
3
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
4
Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, The Qualcomm Institute, Calit2, La Jolla, CA, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.

Abstract

Researchers utilize mobile imaging, pervasive sensing, social media, and location tracking (MISST) technologies to observe and intervene with participants in their natural environment. The use of MISST methods and tools introduces unique ethical issues due to the type and quantity of data, and produces raising new challenges around informed consent, risk assessment, and data management. Since MISST methods are relatively new in behavioral research, there is little documented evidence to guide institutional review board (IRB) risk assessment and inform appropriate risk management strategies. This study was conducted to contribute the participant perspectives when considering ethical and responsible practices. Participants (n = 82) enrolled in an observational study where they wore several MISST devices for 1 week completed an exit survey. Survey items focused on the following: 1-device comfort, 2-informed consent, 3-privacy protections, and 4-bystander engagement. The informed consent process reflected participant actual experience. Device comfort and privacy were raised as concerns to both the participants and bystanders. While the majority of the participants reported a positive experience, it is important to note that the participants were volunteers who were not mandated to wear tracking devices and that persons who are mandated may not have a similar response. Findings support strategies proposed in the Kelly et al. (2013) ethical framework, which emphasizes procedures to improve informed consent, protect privacy, manage data, and respect bystander rights when using a wearable camera.

KEYWORDS:

GIS; GPS; Geo-location; IRB; Informed consent; Institutional review board; Location tracking; Mobile health; Pervasive sensing; Privacy; Research ethics; SenseCam; Wearable camera; mHealth

PMID:
27688250
PMCID:
PMC5110499
DOI:
10.1007/s13142-016-0426-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts to report. Informed Consent Statement All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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