This paper examines some of the ethical problems involved in undertaking Internet research and draws on historical accounts as well as contemporary studies to offer an analysis of the issues raised. It argues that privacy is a misleading and confusing concept to apply to the Internet, and that the concept of non‐alienation is more resourceful in addressing the many ethical issues surrounding Internet research. Using this as a basis, the paper then investigates the Free/Libre and Open Source research model and argues for the principles of “open source ethics” in researching the online world, which includes a participatory and democratic research method.
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