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Alan Rubel [30]Alan P. Rubel [1]
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Alan Rubel
University of Wisconsin, Madison
  1.  76
    Democratic Obligations and Technological Threats to Legitimacy: PredPol, Cambridge Analytica, and Internet Research Agency.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - forthcoming - In Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems. Cambridge University Press:
    NOTE: This material is forthcoming in revised form in Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems by Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro, and Adam Pham (Cambridge University Press). This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. It is not for re-distribution or re-use. Please cite to the final version when available. © Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro, and Adam Pham. ABSTRACT: So far in this book, we have examined algorithmic decision systems from three autonomy-based (...)
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  2.  90
    Algorithms, Agency, and Respect for Persons.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2020 - Social Theory and Practice 46 (3):547-572.
    Algorithmic systems and predictive analytics play an increasingly important role in various aspects of modern life. Scholarship on the moral ramifications of such systems is in its early stages, and much of it focuses on bias and harm. This paper argues that in understanding the moral salience of algorithmic systems it is essential to understand the relation between algorithms, autonomy, and agency. We draw on several recent cases in criminal sentencing and K–12 teacher evaluation to outline four key ways in (...)
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  3.  74
    What We Informationally Owe Each Other.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - forthcoming - In Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems. Cambridge University Press:
    NOTE: This material is forthcoming in revised form in Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems by Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro, and Adam Pham (Cambridge University Press). This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. It is not for re-distribution or re-use. Please cite to the final version when available. © Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro, and Adam Pham. ABSTRACT: One important criticism of algorithmic systems is that they lack transparency. Such systems can (...)
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  4.  69
    A Matter of Trust: : Higher Education Institutions as Information Fiduciaries in an Age of Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics.Kyle M. L. Jones, Alan Rubel & Ellen LeClere - forthcoming - JASIST: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.
    Higher education institutions are mining and analyzing student data to effect educational, political, and managerial outcomes. Done under the banner of “learning analytics,” this work can—and often does—surface sensitive data and information about, inter alia, a student’s demographics, academic performance, offline and online movements, physical fitness, mental wellbeing, and social network. With these data, institutions and third parties are able to describe student life, predict future behaviors, and intervene to address academic or other barriers to student success (however defined). Learning (...)
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  5. Student Privacy in Learning Analytics: An Information Ethics Perspective.Alan Rubel & Kyle M. L. Jones - 2016 - The Information Society 32 (2):143-159.
    In recent years, educational institutions have started using the tools of commercial data analytics in higher education. By gathering information about students as they navigate campus information systems, learning analytics “uses analytic techniques to help target instructional, curricular, and support resources” to examine student learning behaviors and change students’ learning environments. As a result, the information educators and educational institutions have at their disposal is no longer demarcated by course content and assessments, and old boundaries between information used for assessment (...)
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  6.  50
    Epistemic Paternalism Online.Clinton Castro, Adam Pham & Alan Rubel - 2020 - In Guy Axtell & Amiel Bernal (eds.), Epistemic Paternalism. London: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 29-44.
    New media (highly interactive digital technology for creating, sharing, and consuming information) affords users a great deal of control over their informational diets. As a result, many users of new media unwittingly encapsulate themselves in epistemic bubbles (epistemic structures, such as highly personalized news feeds, that leave relevant sources of information out (Nguyen forthcoming)). Epistemically paternalistic alterations to new media technologies could be made to pop at least some epistemic bubbles. We examine one such alteration that Facebook has made in (...)
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  7. Agency Laundering and Information Technologies.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):1017-1041.
    When agents insert technological systems into their decision-making processes, they can obscure moral responsibility for the results. This can give rise to a distinct moral wrong, which we call “agency laundering.” At root, agency laundering involves obfuscating one’s moral responsibility by enlisting a technology or process to take some action and letting it forestall others from demanding an account for bad outcomes that result. We argue that the concept of agency laundering helps in understanding important moral problems in a number (...)
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  8.  33
    The Temptation of Data-Enabled Surveillance: Are Universities the Next Cautionary Tale?Alan Rubel - 2020 - Communications of the Acm 4 (63):22-24.
    There is increasing concern about “surveillance capitalism,” whereby for-profit companies generate value from data, while individuals are unable to resist (Zuboff 2019). Non-profits using data-enabled surveillance receive less attention. Higher education institutions (HEIs) have embraced data analytics, but the wide latitude that private, profit-oriented enterprises have to collect data is inappropriate. HEIs have a fiduciary relationship to students, not a narrowly transactional one (see Jones et al, forthcoming). They are responsible for facets of student life beyond education. In addition to (...)
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  9.  27
    Privacy, Ethics, and Institutional Research.Alan Rubel - 2019 - New Directions in Institutional Research 2019 (183):5-16.
    Despite widespread agreement that privacy in the context of education is important, it can be difficult to pin down precisely why and to what extent it is important, and it is challenging to determine how privacy is related to other important values. But that task is crucial. Absent a clear sense of what privacy is, it will be difficult to understand the scope of privacy protections in codes of ethics. Moreover, privacy will inevitably conflict with other values, and understanding the (...)
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  10. Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability in the NSA’s Bulk Metadata Program.Alan Rubel - 2015 - In Adam D. Moore (ed.), Privacy, Security, and Accountability: Ethics, Law, and Policy. London, UK: pp. 183-202.
    Disputes at the intersection of national security, surveillance, civil liberties, and transparency are nothing new, but they have become a particularly prominent part of public discourse in the years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001. This is in part due to the dramatic nature of those attacks, in part based on significant legal developments after the attacks (classifying persons as “enemy combatants” outside the scope of traditional Geneva protections, legal memos by White House counsel providing (...)
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  11. Libraries, Electronic Resources, and Privacy: The Case for Positive Intellectual Freedom.Alan Rubel - 2014 - Library Quarterly 84 (2):183-208.
    Public and research libraries have long provided resources in electronic formats, and the tension between providing electronic resources and patron privacy is widely recognized. But assessing trade-offs between privacy and access to electronic resources remains difficult. One reason is a conceptual problem regarding intellectual freedom. Traditionally, the LIS literature has plausibly understood privacy as a facet of intellectual freedom. However, while certain types of electronic resource use may diminish patron privacy, thereby diminishing intellectual freedom, the opportunities created by such resources (...)
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  12. A Framework for Analyzing and Comparing Privacy States.Alan Rubel & Ryan Biava - 2014 - JASIST: The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 65 (12):2422-2431.
    This article develops a framework for analyzing and comparing privacy and privacy protections across (inter alia) time, place, and polity and for examining factors that affect privacy and privacy protection. This framework provides a method to describe precisely aspects of privacy and context and a flexible vocabulary and notation for such descriptions and comparisons. Moreover, it links philosophical and conceptual work on privacy to social science and policy work and accommodates different conceptions of the nature and value of privacy. The (...)
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  13. Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America – By Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer, and James Colgrove. [REVIEW]Alan Rubel - 2009 - Review of Policy Research 26:633-634.
    Review of Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America – By Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer, and James Colgrove.
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  14. Four Facets of Privacy and Intellectual Freedom in Licensing Contracts for Electronic Journals.Alan Rubel & Mei Zhang - 2015 - College and Research Libraries 4 (76):427-449.
    This is a study of the treatment of library patron privacy in licenses for electronic journals in academic libraries. We begin by distinguishing four facets of privacy and intellectual freedom based on the LIS and philosophical literature. Next, we perform a content analysis of 42 license agreements for electronic journals, focusing on terms for enforcing authorized use and collection and sharing of user data. We compare our findings to model licenses, to recommendations proposed in a recent treatise on licenses, and (...)
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  15. The Particularized Judgment Account of Privacy.Alan Rubel - 2011 - Res Publica 17 (3):275-290.
    Questions of privacy have become particularly salient in recent years due, in part, to information-gathering initiatives precipitated by the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, increasing power of surveillance and computing technologies, and massive data collection about individuals for commercial purposes. While privacy is not new to the philosophical and legal literature, there is much to say about the nature and value of privacy. My focus here is on the nature of informational privacy. I argue that the predominant accounts of privacy (...)
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  16.  92
    Bias in Information, Algorithms, and Systems.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2018 - In Jo Bates, Paul D. Clough, Robert Jäschke & Jahna Otterbacher (eds.), Proceedings of the International Workshop on Bias in Information, Algorithms, and Systems (BIAS). pp. 9-13.
    We argue that an essential element of understanding the moral salience of algorithmic systems requires an analysis of the relation between algorithms and agency. We outline six key ways in which issues of agency, autonomy, and respect for persons can conflict with algorithmic decision-making.
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  17.  26
    Democratic Principles and Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food.Robert Streiffer & Alan Rubel - 2004 - Public Affairs Quarterly 18 (3):223-248.
  18.  63
    Agency Laundering and Algorithmic Decision Systems.Alan Rubel, Adam Pham & Clinton Castro - 2019 - In N. Taylor, C. Christian-Lamb, M. Martin & B. Nardi (eds.), Information in Contemporary Society (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) (Proceedings of the 2019 iConference). Springer Nature. pp. 590-598.
    This paper has two aims. The first is to explain a type of wrong that arises when agents obscure responsibility for their actions. Call it “agency laundering.” The second is to use the concept of agency laundering to understand the underlying moral issues in a number of recent cases involving algorithmic decision systems. From the Proceedings of the 14th International Conference, iConference 2019, Washington D.C., March 31-April 3, 2019.
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  19.  78
    Respecting the Autonomy of European and American Consumers: Defending Positive Labels on Gm Foods.Alan Rubel & Robert Streiffer - 2004 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (1):75-84.
    In her recent article, Does autonomy count in favor of labeling genetically modified food?, Kirsten Hansen argues that in Europe, voluntary negative labeling of non-GM foods respects consumer autonomy just as well as mandatory positive labeling of foods with GM content. She also argues that because negative labeling places labeling costs upon those consumers that want to know whether food is GM, negative labeling is better policy than positive labeling. In this paper, we argue that Hansens arguments are mistaken in (...)
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  20.  71
    Legal Archetypes and Metadata Collection.Alan Rubel - 2017 - Wisconsin International Law Review 34 (4):823-853.
    In discussions of state surveillance, the values of privacy and security are often set against one another, and people often ask whether privacy is more important than national security.2 I will argue that in one sense privacy is more important than national security. Just what more important means is its own question, though, so I will be more precise. I will argue that national security rationales cannot by themselves justify some kinds of encroachments on individual privacy (including some kinds that (...)
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  21.  41
    Privacy and Positive Intellectual Freedom.Alan Rubel - 2014 - Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (3):390-407.
    Privacy is often linked to freedom. Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is a hallmark of a free society, and pervasive state‐sponsored surveillance is generally considered to correlate closely with authoritarianism. One link between privacy and freedom is prominent in the library and information studies field and has recently been receiving attention in legal and philosophical scholarship. Specifically, scholars and professionals argue that privacy is an essential component of intellectual freedom. However, the nature of intellectual freedom and its link to (...)
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  22. Privacy and the USA Patriot Act: Rights, the Value of Rights, and Autonomy.Alan Rubel - 2007 - Law and Philosophy 26 (2):119-159.
    Civil liberty and privacy advocates have criticized the USA PATRIOT Act (Act) on numerous grounds since it was passed in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Two of the primary targets of those criticisms are the Act’s sneak-and-peek search provision, which allows law enforcement agents to conduct searches without informing the search’s subjects, and the business records provision, which allows agents to secretly subpoena a variety of information – most notoriously, library borrowing records. Without attending to (...)
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  23.  46
    Data Analytics in Higher Education: Key Concerns and Open Questions.Alan Rubel & Kyle M. L. Jones - 2017 - University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy 1 (11):25-44.
    “Big Data” and data analytics affect all of us. Data collection, analysis, and use on a large scale is an important and growing part of commerce, governance, communication, law enforcement, security, finance, medicine, and research. And the theme of this symposium, “Individual and Informational Privacy in the Age of Big Data,” is expansive; we could have long and fruitful discussions about practices, laws, and concerns in any of these domains. But a big part of the audience for this symposium is (...)
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  24.  18
    Genetically Engineered Animals and the Ethics of Food Labeling.Robert Streiffer & Alan Rubel - 2007 - In Paul Weirich (ed.), Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal Debate. Oup Usa. pp. 63--87.
    The current debate about labeling genetically engineered (GE) food focuses on food derived from GE crops, neglecting food derived from GE animals. This is not surprising, as GE animal products have not yet reached the market. Participants in the debate may also be assuming that conclusions about GE crops automatically extend to GE animals. But there are two GE animals - the Enviropig and the AquAdvantage Bred salmon - that are approaching the market, animals raise more ethical issues than plants, (...)
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  25.  81
    Justifying Public Health Surveillance: Basic Interests, Unreasonable Exercise, and Privacy.Alan Rubel - 2012 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (1):1-33.
    Surveillance plays a crucial role in public health, and for obvious reasons conflicts with individual privacy. This paper argues that the predominant approach to the conflict is problematic, and then offers an alternative. It outlines a Basic Interests Approach to public health measures, and the Unreasonable Exercise Argument, which sets forth conditions under which individuals may justifiably exercise individual privacy claims that conflict with public health goals. The view articulated is compatible with a broad range conceptions of the value of (...)
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  26.  32
    Privacy and Ethics in Brain-Computer Interface Research.Eran Klein & Alan Rubel - 2018 - In Chang S. Nam, Anton Nijholt & Fabien Lotte (eds.), Brain–Computer Interfaces Handbook: Technological and Theoretical Advances. Boca Raton, FL, USA: pp. 653-655.
    Neural engineers and clinicians are starting to translate advances in electrodes, neural computation, and signal processing into clinically useful devices to allow control of wheelchairs, spellers, prostheses, and other devices. In the process, large amounts of brain data are being generated from participants, including intracortical, subdural and extracranial sources. Brain data is a vital resource for BCI research but there are concerns about whether the collection and use of this data generates risk to privacy. Further, the nature of BCI research (...)
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  27.  18
    Local Trans Fat Bans and Consumer Autonomy.Alan Rubel - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (3):41-42.
  28.  32
    The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, by Frank Pasquale. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015. 320 Pp. ISBN 978–0674368279. [REVIEW]Alan Rubel - 2016 - Business Ethics Quarterly 26 (4):568-571.
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  29.  34
    Profiling, Information Collection and the Value of Rights Argument.Alan Rubel - 2013 - Criminal Justice Ethics 32 (3):1-21.
    In the United States and elsewhere, there is substantial controversy regarding the use of race and ethnicity by police in determining whom to stop, question, and investigate in relation to crime and security issues. In the ethics literature, the debate about profiling largely focuses on the nature of profiling and when (if ever) profiling is morally justifiable. This essay addresses the related, but distinct, issue of whether states have a duty to collect information about the race and ethnicity of persons (...)
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  30.  21
    Nanotechnology, Sensors, and Rights to Privacy.Alan Rubel - 2010 - Public Affairs Quarterly 24 (2):131-153.
    A suite of technological advances based on nanotechnology has received substantial attention for its potential to affect privacy. Reports of the National Nanotechnology Initiative have recognized that the societal implications of nanotechnology will include better surveillance and information-gathering technologies. A variety of academic and popular publications have explained the potential effects of nanotechnology on privacy.The ways in which nanotechnology might affect privacy are varied. It may make current information technology better, make old information-gathering techniques more reliable, or expand information-gathering into (...)
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  31.  27
    Medical Privacy and the Public's Right to Vote: What Presidential Candidates Should Disclose.Robert Streiffer, Alan P. Rubel & Julie R. Fagan - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (4):417 – 439.
    We argue that while presidential candidates have the right to medical privacy, the public nature and importance of the presidency generates a moral requirement that candidates waive those rights in certain circumstances. Specifically, candidates are required to disclose information about medical conditions that are likely to seriously undermine their ability to fulfill what we call the "core functions" of the office of the presidency. This requirement exists because (1) people have the right to be governed only with their consent, (2) (...)
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