discussion / Acoustic Monitoring  / 30 June 2021

Incidental recording of people (in an IRB context)

I'm currently going through an IRB submission for a survey I intend to give landowners as part of an acoustic sensor deployment in upcoming months, and I'm being asked about incidental recordings of people. While I'm pretty confident in my response to the reviewers, I'm curious if others have had similar challenges brought up in their own deployments and how they've reassured either people on the ground, or people at institutions, that privacy can be ensured with incidental recording of conversations.

I haven't needed to go through an IRB for acoustic collections yet, but I have had landowners ask this.  My response has been that we filter out incidental conversations with ML automatically.  For an IRB, you will probably need to be specific about how and when you do this.  The responses I have had have been very mixed and any objections are based on incorrect assumptions and knowledge....or a flat out "no way" before even hearing how it works - usually after hearing the words "continuous recording" on their property.  Others are happy and excited to see what is going on.  It seems to be an educational task and it isn't easy amidst the current privacy debates, not to mention political climate.

Please keep the board updated.  I'm sure your IRB experience with acoustic monitoring deployments will be valuable to others here.