Deception, deradicalisation and evaluation: the ethics of academic engagement

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper contributes to the literature exploring the ethics and justification of deception in Countering Violent Extremist research. Identifying and addressing these emerging ethical challenges is critical given the continued emphasis from academia and government on the production of effective and transparent evaluations of CVE programs. Drawing on a case study from Australia, the paper argues that the ethical limitations required for the deployment of deception limit its overall effectiveness as a tool for online deradicalisation. In the process of this evaluation, the paper provides space for critical reflection on the ethical issues that arise for those engaged in academic evaluation of such projects. The case study examined in the paper created a social media platform, designed to emulate forums that exist to discuss and disseminate extremist content, so to attract vulnerable individuals and engage them in one-on-one dialogue for the purposes of deradicalisation. The paper outlines the academic evaluation of the social media platform and the resulting engagement identifying a series of technical and ethical issues that have limited the overall effectiveness of the deployment of deception as means of deradicalisation. It highlights the ethical challenges that arise during academic evaluations of CVE programs that use methods such as deception particularly in relation to issues of informed consent and assessment of benefits to society. Drawing on the work by Guillemin and Gillan (2004) on micro-ethics, the paper identifies a growing requirement for reflexive ethical capabilities in academic communities in order to facilitate engagement in evaluations of complex CVE programs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAVERT Research Network Symposium (2018) - Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
Duration: 3 Sept 20184 Sept 2018


ConferenceAVERT Research Network Symposium (2018)


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