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On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we host a round table discussion on Crisis Text Line monetizing the data of those that use its platforms for help.
horrible stuff — a non-profit named Crisis Text Line that offers outreach to people worried about suicide, self-harm etc, has been harvesting conversations to use as training data for an AI customer service startup https://t.co/49PyQzHidR
— James Vincent (@jjvincent) January 28, 2022
As Politico reported:
Crisis Text Line is one of the world’s most prominent mental health support lines, a tech-driven nonprofit that uses big data and artificial intelligence to help people cope with traumas such as self-harm, emotional abuse and thoughts of suicide.
But the data the charity collects from its online text conversations with people in their darkest moments does not end there: The organization’s for-profit spinoff uses a sliced and repackaged version of that information to create and market customer service software.
Crisis Text Line says any data it shares with that company, Loris.ai, has been wholly “anonymized,” stripped of any details that could be used to identify people who contacted the helpline in distress. Both entities say their goal is to improve the world — in Loris’ case, by making “customer support more human, empathetic, and scalable.”
For Crisis Text Line, an organization with financial backing from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players, its control of what it has called “the largest mental health data set in the world” highlights new dimensions of the tech privacy debates roiling Washington: Giant companies like Facebook and Google have built great fortunes based on masses of deeply personal data. But information of equal or greater sensitivity is also in the hands of nonprofit groups that fall outside federal regulations on commercial businesses — with little outside control over where that data ends up.
During our discussion, we talk about the implications of this reality during a time when the suicide crisis is exploding and community based alternatives are needed more than ever.
Life expectancy in the US has fallen, while the youth suicide rate has grown by a staggering 56%. For those 15 – 24, its now the second leading cause of death – as use of pharmaceuticals skyrockets. On our latest podcast, we asked health care workers: why? https://t.co/btHyi1WauB
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) March 5, 2020
More Info: Suicide Hotline Shares Data from Politico and That Ledge My Friend: Suicide Rates Among Young People Are Exploding, Why?
photo: Umberto via Unsplash