Legal and Ethical Challenges in Multimedia Research

Vivek K. Singh, Elisabeth Andre, Susanne Boll, Mireille Hildebrandt, David A. Shamma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Multimedia research has long moved beyond laboratory experiments and is being rapidly deployed in real-life applications including advertisements, search, security, automated driving, and healthcare. Hence, the developed algorithms now have a direct impact on the individuals using the abovementioned services and the society as a whole. While there is a huge potential to benefit the society using such technologies, there is also an urgent need to identify the checks and balances to ensure that the impact of such technologies is ethical and positive. For instance, if the multimedia technologies are being used to detect and protect pedestrians from accidents by autonomous vehicles, then the pedestrian detection performance needs to be equitable across demographic descriptors, such as gender and race of the pedestrians. Similarly, while logs of driving behaviors are important in many applications, making such information available to corporate entities and third parties could raise important privacy challenges. This position article aims to: first, increase the awareness of such concepts and existing legal constraints in the multimedia research community, second, initiate a discussion on community guidelines on how to conduct multimedia research in a lawful and ethical manner, and third, identify some important research directions to support a vision of lawful and ethical multimedia research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9116068
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Multimedia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Media Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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