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Re: [tor-talk] Fw: German University signs up 24 tor relays
Sent from [ProtonMail](https://protonmail.ch), encrypted email based in Switzerland.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [tor-talk] Fw: German University signs up 24 tor relays
Time (GMT): May 06 2015 15:24:20
> for the most part, this is only true only for entities that receive
> government funding.
Completely false. For example, if a corporation funds medical research
at a university, that still requires IRB approval.
Lack of government funding is not some kind of
workaround for lack of ethical review in academic departments that aren't
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.
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.
> Tor is exempt from this because it is only experimenting on the
> entirety of the political fabric of the world and receives no... oh,
"The political fabric of the world" doesn't sound like a coherent enough thing
for anyone to reason about ethically. That could mean anything.
Tor's users consent to using it. The proper analogy would be if an
overlay network like Tor somehow forced users onto it without their
knowledge or consent.
And Tor tries to minimize any negative effects on the larger public from people
who didn't consent to using it, even though it has no duty to them--for example,
by voluntarily publishing the list of exit relays.
[JS7, apologies for getting used to ProtonMail formatting]: 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).
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