In the last few weeks EU and US talks have resulted in calls for internet providers to create a means for 'swift reporting' and removal of material that aims to incite hatred and terror - a 'reporting' mechanism which could be used to stifle legitimate, albeit often highly distasteful or offensive, speech without due process safeguards.
I'm perfectly happy to let Google (and a few select others) collect, collate and monetise my data in return for the outstanding services it delivers me at no financial cost. I don't find the benefits of Facebook sufficient to allow it the same courtesy and thus, thankfully, don't have to suffer the desperate status updates of people I haven't seen in 20 years.
In the days of raging debates on internet privacy, consider this question if you are a novice on the topic. What kind of information do you reveal when you go online, do your searches, do your shopping, check your preferences, surf sites that interest you, read news, share information about yourself, express your opinions and upload pictures of a vacation you took with your family?
It is fortunate for all of us that we don't see all the news all of the time, or become aware of all the futuristic ways companies are planning to engage with us. I recently read the book The Circle by Dave Eggers which paints a worrying picture of the future based around the over dominance of one 'social media' company. ..
The media in general and online editors in particular are not necessarily the bad guys here, far from it, they mostly just stick to their journalistic ethos... A possible solution could be that, after a set number of years, the article would either de-index itself or anonymise the individuals it cites. Some kind of "digital rehabilitation act" if you will, or a self-triggered right to be forgotten.
The Radar fiasco may yet have a happy ending, if it forces the Samaritans to focus again on the things that they do best. Given time, others will dream up better apps; Twitter will return to the fractious equilibrium it usually enjoys. And the Samaritans can go back to being the people I remember... the selfless heroes who always listen, and never, ever tell.