Copyright and licenses are important concepts to acknowledge. If one does not comply with copyright and license agreements, then they are liable for a lawsuit. Plagiarism has certainly always been a risk for students, but copyright and license infringement are greater risks. With these concepts in mind, consulting parties associated with a historical topic may be an important tactic for respecting any rules or regulations that relate to the topic of interest. Ownership of online content is another potential barrier for research.
Privacy is a very interesting and relevant topic in this era. Scenarios relating to this subject have surprising implicaitons. For example, there is ambiguity associated with whether or not a social media account is considered to be personal property. I would think that the profiles belong to the organization, not the individual, but people may believe otherwise. This scenario is relevant to anyone that might use historical information that could be found on social media. World leaders, and other historical figures, of the future may have social media accounts, for example. Today, the standards of privacy may vary, from region to region. Some countries, or cultures, may be more open to the disclosure of online information than others. Finding testimony in a country, or from an era where the society lacked free speech or free press may increase the difficulty of gathering historical data. Some societies may aso suppress information. For example, literature from the Uyghur ethnic group in China is suppressed. In a hypothetical scenario, research sites may not be available without the consent of the local government or owners of property.
Ethics was an interesting topic to focus on. I agree that consulting parties that are relevant to a research topic is important. I can see the importance in making sure that one does not demean or belittle a topic of a given culture. I am reminded of historical writing of native American and African cultures that would describe people as if they are subhuman. Gender bias was another interesting subject that relates to ethics. Not making prejudicial assumptions about a given community is an important virtue. Big data ethics was another interesting field. For example, some argue that the information that people have access to on social media could influence elections. Search engines could selectively decide to remove results from search pages, making desired results difficult to find. The search engine companies may have the intent of filtering information that is perceived as controversial, or offensive. However, the same method and argument could be used to censor information. If a researcher wanted to find information related to former president Trump, for example, then they would have trouble finding his content from the websites ‘YouTube’ and ‘twitter’. With that in mind, the concept of ethics is ever changing, with ongoing challenges as society changes.