Meister relates his experience in a conference session in which another attendee appeared to work for a US intelligence agency. He writes:
[T]he more attention DH researchers invest in Big Data approaches and anything that might help with the analysis of human behaviour, communication and networking patterns, semantic analysis, topic modeling and related approaches, the more our field becomes interesting to those who can apply our research in order to further their own goals.
This is the nature and dilemma of all open research: we are an intellectual community that believes in sharing, and so unless we decide to become exclusive, there’s no stopping someone from exploiting our work for other purposes.
As Rockwell notes:
Meister rightly opens the ethical issue of whether our organization should have a code of ethics that touches on how our research is used. We have a code of conduct, should it extend to issues of surveillance?