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Stanford Promises Not to Use Google Money for Privacy Research

Stashed in: Intellectual Property, Academia

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Universities often accept money from outside organizations to research broad subject areas. That's generally not controversial because it allows researchers to go where their findings take them.

But if researchers are restricted, they might be forced to skew their results, ignore credible lines of inquiry or abandon legitimate projects altogether.

For instance, some of the non-privacy research at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society could be more related to privacy than they appear, Grimmelman said.

Take copyright. A study on the increasing popularity of e-books could lead to the topic of e-book piracy, which could lead to the idea of publishers requiring readers to log in, a practice that could make users' reading habits much easier to track – a clear-cut privacy issue.

"Some of the best copyright scholarship of recent decades ... couldn't have been carried out at the Stanford CIS under the terms of the grant you described to me," Grimmelmann said. "So a commandment that 'Thou Shalt Not Study X' also interferes with the study of the rest of the alphabet."

Right, so I don't understand why Stanford would make this promise.

fingers crossed behind back meme imgur

That's what I feared.

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