March 29, 2001 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Confidentiality. A lot of people would probably expect such a conversation to be confidential, although that is neither promised by the web site nor apparently required of their operators.

The TV news here in Melbourne covered the story this morning and skirted the subject of confidentiality, but Wired has an interesting piece. The New Zealand Herald has an edited transcript in the first of it's articles.

There's an uproar if a doctor or a priest breaks a confidence, even if it leads to a murder being solved. Why so little fuss here?
posted by southisup (6 comments total)

This was just a teenage girl chatting to another kid. Hardly the same as a priest hearing confession. She got scared and did what she thought was right. What's the problem there?

Isn't it quite common for doctors to alert authorities when they think somethings is suss?
posted by Foaf at 7:33 PM on March 29, 2001

Heck, he's obviously asking for attention. Probably better to get this out of the way than to have that poor girl traumatized if the kid actually does go off the deep end.
posted by SpecialK at 8:27 PM on March 29, 2001

In Canada Ph.D.s are required to alert authorities when they think one of their patients is going to do something illegal. I believe the ethical guidelines are the same in the USA.
posted by tiamat at 9:47 PM on March 29, 2001

If you go to the site it appears to offer some kind of counselling (with a lot of disclaimers). I think that is why the original poster expected it to be confidential. There's also a statement at about all this.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:21 AM on March 30, 2001

In the US, when a minor threatens to hurt him(her)self or someone else, a caregiver is required by law to report that to the authorities. I'm not sure how that applies to adults, but minors are always under more protection.
posted by karenh at 5:41 AM on March 30, 2001

I was intrigued by the public reaction more than anything else. I expected more of a backlash but haven't seen any one being too critical of her, which is reassuring, although the statement implies that some people have been.

That statement clears things up a bit. It all took place in a public chatroom, which does make a difference.

This might be the original story referred to.
posted by southisup at 6:31 AM on March 30, 2001

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