Public Health Ethics and Personal Liberty & Ethical Challenges of Online Research

Public Health Ethics and Personal Liberty

Masking, social distancing, vaccination passports and other public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 – have become controversial in some parts of the world. Some of the critics of restrictive public health policies – politicians, public figures, celebrities and ordinary citizens in different countries – refer to individual freedoms and human rights that are allegedly violated. Others suggest that in some countries, e.g. in the US, the libertarian outlook might be behind public outrage and resistance against public health measures (Illing 2020). I would like to analyze with students, what kind of public health intervention can be justified in a state that seriously takes individual liberty, and speculate, if these possible restriction would be also effective during an epidemic similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethical Challenges of Online Research

The internet and social media is a great source of data for researchers. However, online research, even if they utilize publicly accessible data can pose risk to individuals and groups. Facebook emotional contagion study (2014), as well as Taste, Ties and Time (2008) study that use data retrieved from Facebook profiles have raised a lot ethical questions. During the seminar we will try to discuss the most important ethical issues associated with online research utilizing individual users data.