Some research may put you — or others — at risk. At risk of violations of law, but also at risk of violations of people’s privacy or causing harm to them (regardless of whether you are right or wrong in any attributions).
Tanya Basu writes:
As rioters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, Theo—like many Americans—watched, dumbfounded and in horror.
Then he had an idea. “What if we went on social and started pulling these screenshots together and tried to go around and crowdsource [the rioters’] identities?” he remembers thinking.
So Theo bought a burner phone, set up a fake email address, and created an Instagram account over a VPN: @homegrownterrorists. Within hours, and before the FBI had issued its plea for help to identify rioters, Theo (a pseudonym for the account holder, who asked to remain anonymous because of death threats he has received) had gained hundreds of thousands of followers as he furiously posted images and video. Thousands of people were commenting on and sharing the images, with the goal of identifying the perpetrators.
Read more on MIT Technology Review.