The U.K. suicide prevention charity maintains that legal advisers have told it the controversial app is compliant with British data protection law — but refuse to explain this position just yet, despite strong opposition from mental illness sufferers.
The Samaritans Radar Twitter app, launched this week by the U.K.’s main suicide prevention charity, has good intentions. However, it’s an ethical and legal minefield.
The charity has launched a service called Samaritans Radar, which helps and encourages Twitter users to support potentially depressed contacts. However, some see it as invasive and counterproductive.
Aaron Swartz, an early Reddit staffer and founder of the open-web activist group Demand Progress, committed suicide on Friday at the age of 26, touching off an outpouring of grief and memorials from a wide range of friends and colleagues.
In a striking display of the power of live video, Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site Justin.tv. As we understand it from various forum posts, the 19-year-old Floridian was apparently egged on by commenters on Justin.tv and fellow forum users on bodybuilding.com. Biggs overdosed on pills while on camera and appeared to be breathing for hours until watchers realized he might be serious, at which point they alerted the police. The video kept running until police and EMTs broke Biggs’ door down and blocked the camera’s view. [digg=http://digg.com/people/19_year_old_Commits_Suicide_on_Justin_tv]
We confirmed Biggs’ death with the Broward County medical examiner. The Justin.tv video and many of the forum posts have been taken down.
When asked about the broadcast via email, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: