Researchers must inform the participants of what is involved in their study before asking the participants to partake in their experiment. When I read about the Tuskee study I was shocked that these researchers did not inform their participants that they had syphilis and that they did not treat them. Instead, the researchers watched more than a hundred men die with deaths related to syphilis. This case, although unfortunate clearly demonstrates why informed consent is necessary. Participants should be able to know the risks and information about the experiment.
Today, although researchers must tell subjects what they are getting into, it seems like informed consent should apply to other aspects of life as well. Numerous embarrassing photos and videos are uploaded to YouTube and Facebook daily. Through these devices people are often mocked and humiliated. Before this information is released to the public, shouldn't the permission of the subject of the work be required? Often these photos and videos can cause problems with friends; they can prevent one from getting into college or from getting a job offer.
An example of an embarrassing video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sd-j0rKeKw. More than three million people have watched this video, and it seems like it would be embarrassing to the sobbing girl that just wanted to make it snow. Before this video was made public, I believe that she should have had to give her consent.
An urban legend that relates to the subject of informed consent is when a couple was video taped during sexual intercourse during the night of their honeymoon by the hotel in which they spent the night. The couple was not informed that they were being video taped and the hotel did not ask for their consent, which violates their privacy. Although this would be hard to fake, an alternate explanation could be that the couple was lying. Replicability could be then applied to ensure that this was not just a hoax.