Ethical Aspects

The wide use of digital visual technologies across various cultural contexts by quite diverse groups of people raises a range of ethical and political issues, which are dealt with in the DIGIT-M-ED project. For example:

– What is the future of privacy in the “digital era”?

– What is the meaning of authorship and property in the cyberspaces?

– How do young people manage ethical issues raised with their participation in cyberspace?

– What does all this imply for our research ethics? Can young marginalized urban people participate more actively in the different phases of academic research though digital visual technologies?

While we keep those open questions in mind, DIGIT-M-ED is grounded on fundamental principles and rules regarding data protection and privacy, and ensures the reliability and integrity of such data and their flow within the internal (European Union) and external (India, Brazil, Russia) partner countries. For more details check the:

Cross-cultural/ Trans-national Youth Research Ethics Guide for Social Sciences, Authors: Sofia Triliva, Michalis Kontopodis, Manolis Dafermakis, Christos Varvantakis: ethics guide

In addition to this guide, within the DIGIT-M-ED context, words and terms shall have the following meaning:

1. Personal data: Any data relating to the data subject (identified or identifiable), i.e. information that can be traced directly or indirectly to a specific individual.

2. Processing: Any operation or set of operations, which is performed upon personal data, whether the processing is manual or automatic.

3. File: Any structured set of personal data where data on individual persons can be found.

4. Controller: The party that determines the purposes of the processing of personal data, the equipment that is used, the method of the processing and other usage of the data.

5. Processor: The party that processes personal data on behalf of the program, colleague, researcher, graduate student.

6. Consent: A specific, unambiguous declaration, which is given freely by an individual, signifying that s/he agrees to the processing of particular personal data relating to her/him, and that s/he is aware of the purpose of the processing, how it will be conducted, how data protection will be ensured, that the individual can withdraw her/his consent, etc.

The principles below apply to any manual and electronic processing of personal data that form, or are intended to form, a part of a filing system and of the research and publication procedures that the project entails.

Participation in DIGIT-M-ED is voluntary and takes place after parents, legal guardians and/or young people (according to local legal regulations) will sign the informed consent form below which will be translated and explained in each case as appropriate. Young people or their legal guardians will be able to terminate their participation in the study at any time.

Referring to all data the anonymity of the participants on the observation protocols and interview data will be maintained. All statements and recordings will be supplied with pseudonyms and personal characteristics will either be omitted or so modified that it is impossible to recognize the participants. None of the planned activities will involve sensitive personal data.

When processing personal data, all of the following shall be observed:

1. That they are processed in a fair, apposite and lawful manner and that all their use is in accordance with good practices of personal data processing;

2. That they are obtained for specified, explicit, apposite purposes and not processed further for other and incompatible purposes, but further processing of data for historical, statistical or scientific purposes shall not be considered as incompatible provided that proper safeguards are adhered to;

3. That they are adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for the processing;

4. That they are reliable and kept up to date when necessary, personal data which are unreliable or incomplete, having regard to the purposes for their processing, shall be erased or rectified;

5. That they are preserved in a form which does not permit identification of data subjects for longer than is necessary for the purposes for the processing. In order to insure this, coding procedures will be followed and cross-checked.

6. The processor’s obligation of confidentiality when processing personal data will be ensured.

Copies of informed consents for the processing of new personal data will be submitted to the R.E.A. in the dates mentioned in the table “Milestones” above.

An Ethics Board, which will include relevant external, independent expertise to monitor the ethical concerns in this project, has been established prior to the project start date. This board consists of three experienced researchers from EU countries. The Ethics Board shall conduct internal audits on the processing of personal information to ensure that they are processed in accordance with prevailing standards described above and the security measures that are to be implemented. The frequency and intensity of the audits shall be relative to danger associated with the processing, the nature of the data processed, the methodologies used to ensure the security of the data and the cost associated with conducting the audits. An intermediate and a final report by this Ethics Board will submitted to the R.E.A. It shall be for the Ethics Board to ensure that the processing of personal data is always in compliance with the tenets outlined above and the Ethical standards and processes that are part of the European Union’s Research Standards regarding Human Subjects.

In addition to that the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) will also be asked to screen the ethical part concerning the collection of new data in Greece. For the research in third countries, the guidelines compatible with, and equivalent to, those approved by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) and the European Commission must be rigorously applied, regardless of the country in which the data are processed.

Exemplary Informed Consent – download here