Comment on potential misuse with live-video

Our work with LiveResponse has now even found its way to New York Times website with Janko Roettgers from GIGAOM and industry blogs such as TMCnet with Kelly McGuire. This did not happen by accident but as a result of a Bambuser press release. Anyway, two of the commentators that published a story about our work with Bambuser elaborate on the issue if LiveResponse could mean that emergency responders will take the chance to also sell video streams to commercial news actors. These ethical dimensions of technology use are critical and should not be ignored. As a designer, we are responsible to also be held accountable for misuse. Our job is to maximize intended use, minimize non-intended use while at the same time provide generative properties so the users can to some extent invent unanticipated positive-use. Balancing between positive aspects and negative consequences are delicate, yet critical. In the LiveResponse solution, we have made our very best in making sure that no video is stored on the mobile handset. The video is transfered to a secure and protected website. Still, we can never claim that misuse will never happen. However, we have also embedded traceability and made this traceability visible to the users so they as professionals can provide a sense of social control that could block some types of unethical use. Still, at the end of the day, if someone wants to broadcast and sell live video from an accident site, why bother do it using the LiveResponse solution. Instead, I would imagine that such people will use an unregistered private cell phone and broadcast directly to the target area in mind.

Having said this, unethical use will for a long long time be a topic that we must spend considerable time on and make sure that we protect peoples integrity while at the same time enable professional responders to make efficient response operations.

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