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Re: [tor-talk] Fw: German University signs up 24 tor relays

JS733NknRj6J <JS733NknRj6J@protonmail.com> writes:

> 1) I think you may have missed the fact (signaled by the "oh wait"
> at the end of my email) that i was being sarcastic and agreeing with
> you.

Sorry. *makes hand gesture of accidentally being in violent agreement*

> 2) the point about Federal (and in some cases, State) funding is
> correct (but note, I'm going to agree with you at the end). In the
> US, IRBs exist only in institutions that receive Federal funding,
> either operating or project. The IRB requirement stems directly from
> the Federal "Common Rule"
> (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/commonrule/) regarding Human
> Subjects Research. This Rule has been interpreted to include all
> institutions that receive Federal funding for operating expenses,
> even if the project in question receives no direct Federal funds. So
> every project remotely involving human subjects at every university
> and research institutes, even private ones, has IRB requirements.
> Note that institutions get to interpret these regs individually, and
> some private universities (e.g., ahem, MIT) take a less restrictive
> approach, at least in cases of non-direct funding, than do many
> public universities.
> This is why the notorious "Facebook Experiment" was able to get around
> IRB approval: so far, the Federal government has not deemed the Common
> Rule applicable to private corporations not directly engaged in
> medical research (and a few other categories).
> Note that I said "entities," not "projects." I sit on one of and work
> with the IRBs at the institution with which I'm associated. That the
> requirement for this stems directly from the Common Rule and due to
> our general receipt of US Gov moneys is absolutely beyond question:
> it's in the official documents we trade with the Feds.
> In my opinion, this should be extended to all private corps that
> receive Federal funding, but that hasn't been on the table recently
> as far as I know.

I see; thank you, that's an important and valuable distinction (that
it's about the institution receiving federal funding in general, not
in specific for the one project, and that corporations not directly
engaged in medical research aren't subject to it). And I agree, it
would be very good to broaden which entities fall under the Common
Rule. For example, I think the role of U.S. consultancies working on
behalf of USAID and the State Department during the "loans for shares"
fiasco in Russia in the early '90s would've benefited from some
outside-the-echo-chamber review, though I'm not sure the economic
malpractice would've been prevented.

> The only thing I don't get about this is that you seem to be arguing
> the opposite of what you started with.
> I agree with what I thought your general point was, that CS/IT/EE
> folks have typically not seen or thought about (or been made to think
> about) the IRB consequences of their work; whether Tor would require
> some form of IRB approval or exemption is something I'd want to think
> more about--I was just joking about the fact that, if we are talking
> only about Fed funding, it definitely does get it, and the rhetoric
> surrounding the project suggests that it affects everyone (what I
> meant by "the political fabric of the world") even those who don't use
> it (but then again so does much of what happens on the internet, so
> that is a pretty big rabbit hole).

And of course if you take the "military cyberweapon" view of Tor that
e.g. Pando promulgates, then the appropriate review would be the U.S.

Sorry for misreading your implication; tone is hard on email/IRC at times.

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