The ethics of online social network forensics
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.Online social networks (OLSNs) are electronically-based social milieux where individuals gather virtually to socialize. The behavior and characteristics of these networks can provide evidence relevant for detecting and prosecuting policy violations, crimes, terrorist activities, subversive political movements, etc. Some existing forensics methods and tools are useful for such investigations. Further, forensics researchers are developing new methods and tools specifically for investigating and examining online social networks. While the privacy rights of individuals are widely respected, the privacy rights of social groups are less well developed. In the current development of OLSNs and computer forensics, the compromise of group privacy may lead to the violation of individual privacy. This paper examines the ethics regarding forensics examinations of online social networks. As with individual privacy, ethical tensions exist in social group privacy between the privacy rights that can be afforded to the membership, and the rights of institutions to detect and govern conspiracies to subversion, crimes, discrimination, etc.
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