15 J.L. Econ. & Pol'y 41 (2019)
The Costs of Not Using Data: Balancing Privacy and the Perils of Inaction

handle is hein.journals/jecoplcy15 and id is 45 raw text is: 


2019]


      THE   COSTS OF NOT USING DATA: BALANCING
          PRIVACY AND THE PERILS OF INACTION


                      Gabe  Maldoff  and  Omer  Tene



INTRODUCTION

     On  May  2, 2017, a teenage girl in Macon, Georgia, swallowed   a hand-
ful of pills, placed a plastic bag over her head,  and turned  on Facebook
Live.'  Suicide  is the second leading  cause of death  among   teens in the
United  States, and teenage girls are particularly vulnerable. The  Georgia
teen could have  been another  statistic, broadcast on Facebook Live for the
world  to see. But while some  critics blame social media for the rise in teen
suicides,' in this case, the online  platform  helped  save the  teen's life.
Friends who  had  seen the broadcast promptly  reported it to police. Police
also relied on social media to locate the girl (she was at her grandmother's
home).   Within  forty minutes,  they were  on  the scene  and the  girl was
brought to a hospital to recover.
     What  if the teen's friends had not seen the video and been  able to in-
tervene?  What  if no one was  watching?   The reality of the online world is
that there is always someone-or something-watching. Entire business
models  are built around tracking  our every move  and  showing  each  of us
the content best suited to algorithmically determined needs and wants.  But,
what   if Facebook's   algorithms  had  purposefully   chosen  to  bury  the
livestream below  the daily barrage of news stories and cat photos that inun-
date our feeds?  Conversely,  if Facebook  had the ability to digest the vid-
eo's  content-a   growing   possibility as voice  recognition  and  machine
learning technologies improve-could it   have had a duty to intervene?



    . Associate, Bird & Bird, London, formerly Westin Research Fellow, International Association
of Privacy Professionals.
   ** Vice President, Research and Education, International Association of Privacy Professionals, and
Senior Fellow, Future of Privacy Forum.
    1 Teen Attempts Suicide on Facebook Live, Saved by Deputies, USA TODAY (May 5, 2017, 8:01
AM),    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/04/facebook-live-suicide-attempt-
thwarted-deputies/311252001/.
    2 Rae Ellen Bichell, Suicide Rates Climb In U.S., Especially Among Adolescent Girls, NPR (Apr.
22, 2016, 12:02 AM), htp://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/04/22/474888854/suicide-rates-
climb-in-u-s-especially-among-adolescent-girls.
    3 David D. Luxton, Jennifer D. June & Jonathan M. Fairall, Social Media and Suicide: A Public
Health     Perspective,  AM.      J.     PUB.     HEALTH      (May     2012),
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477910/.


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