Ethics in Network Measurements
Moral obligations of engineers, scientists and hackers, based on example of RIPE Atlas
When designing technologies, networked systems, and measurements on the Internet, we must be aware of their implications and consequences for the society and participants. As engineers, scientists, programmers and other experts, we have moral obligations towards our peers, users of technologies we create, and the wider communities.
In this talk I want to talk both about general ethical considerations, and specific examples of moral dilemmas that come from building the RIPE Atlas system, and conducting measurements that reveal workings of Internet infrastructure and services.
RIPE Atlas is an extensive measurement network, where the vantage points (sources of measurements) are hosted by volunteers: mostly individuals at home, but also some institutions (ISPs, IXPs, academia, various other businesses). RIPE Atlas users are using someone else's Internet connection to do measurements. In order to recognise ethical considerations surrounding use of RIPE Atlas, we looked both into the historical considerations of engineers and scientists, and into practical constraints users should keep in mind, and we published some findings in this article: https://labs.ripe.net/Members/kistel/ethics-of-ripe-atlas-measurements