System for reacting to critical (life threatening) emergencies

there are many horror stories of streamers having a seizure, fainting, having a heart attack, or seeing hallucinations while streaming. The larger we grow, the more likely these events are to happen. As a viewer you feel helpless, and even as a platform there is little we can do to help. The system would consist of a few simple parts working together in harmony:

  1. give the streamer the option to provide emergency contact info
    add a field to a streamers profile where they can optionally provide an emergency contact number and their real first name. This would not be the streamer’s number, but a phone number of a close friend or neighbour. They would be required to notify this person that they are their emergency contact on glimesh, and we would recommend they add glimesh’s number to their contacts. This number would be stored securely on our servers, and only the GCT would have access to it. It would not be a part of any API, and there would be full access logs of who accessed it and when, along with an email sent every time to alert the streamer of such access

  2. a privacy shield
    The overlay (similar to the “mature content” warning) would be displayed on the glimesh site and mobile app for anyone who is not a member of the GCT. After a GCT member has verified there is a real emergency, they could deploy the privacy screen. The privacy shield could be turned on/off as needed. When triggered, viewers would still be able to hear audio, but not see the video viewers would not be able to see video, or hear the audio. It is important that GCT members still able to see the feed in order to assist with the emergency, so the stream would not be ended, it just wouldn’t be viewable to anyone but the GCT. A message would be displayed informing viewers of the situation:

Critical Emergency
The Glimesh Community Team is actively monitoring the situation, and has intervened to ensure the well-being of the streamer. Out of respect for the individual and their privacy, we have cut viewers’ access to the stream.

If you have any additional information, please communicate with the GCT member(s) in chat.

  1. a google-voice-type number
    the GCT could use it from their computers or mobile devices to call emergency contacts, in order to protect their own personal privacy. It would display as a valid number that could be called back in case of emergency, and it would identify on caller ID as “Glimesh Emergency” or similar

  2. a “report critical emergency” button/link
    viewers would press this button in case of emergency and, after seeing a stern warning (about it being for life threatening emergencies only), they could report the emergency to a member of the GCT. all members of the GCT would receive an urgent alert. abuse of the report button would result in account suspension or a ban

It would go something like this:

  • streamer has a seizure on stream
  • chat freaks out and reports the emergency to the GCT
  • the GCT receives an emergency report and responds by joining the stream
  • if the GCT can confirm there is an emergency in progress they deploy the privacy shield
  • the GCT uses the glimesh emergency number to call the streamer’s emergency contact person

“hi Lisa? my name is Paco, I’m a member of the glimesh community team, we have reason to believe that your son trevor has had a seizure while streaming. would you be available to check up on them? I have their stream in front of me now. He appears to be breathing, but he may have bumped his head. I can stay on the line if you like, or you can call me back”

  • the GCT member would stay in the chat and monitor the stream, gathering info from people in chat until help has arrived, at which point they end the stream. They would not be authorized to call emergency services such as 911
  • once the situation has been dealt with, the GCT member can either end the stream or return it to normal if the GCT member is satisfied the streamer is okay

This is quite the contrast to how other streaming sites do things, and it shows that we truly care about our users and their well-being

This is very similar in a lot of ways to an early idea I proposed, and we lightly discussed, very early on. I would absolutely love a system along these lines and would be happy to help work it out and see what we can do about making it a reality. It’s going to be a very, very delicate balance and will require some serious thought to ensure that it isn’t sbused, that the information stays up to date and correct, that no boundaries are crossed, and a lot of other things. I’m really looking forward to the conversation around this and seeing where the proposal goes!

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Love the idea but agree it will be a very fine line to tread in terms of making sure we have enough people that can respond quickly, whilst keeping such very personal information secure.

– Obviously opt in is a must, and we have to quite explicitly state how serious we are taking the security of such a system. The idea of logs and emailing users upon the opening of that information is a good start for that.

  • I would even go as so far as maybe not the entire GCT should have access to that information but maybe Clone, Kristoff, Paco and 1-2 from various regions of the world (to account for timezones). I think the smaller the circle at the start the better to ensure we get the process right.

  • A privacy shield is an interesting idea. Not sure about the viewers still needing to hear audio and just having their video feed cut. I think I would prefer that viewers have the entire feed cut but keep it visible for the GCT team to continue to monitor the situation.
    Would love to hear the use case for viewers still hearing audio.

  • An update to the report button to report a critical emergency is great. I feel we will need to look at how we promote such a thing though, as we obviously don’t want 100 reports of “its critical, this person said a bad word”. Perhaps a disclaimer when they press it saying what its use case is for (medical emergency, etc) and that other items should be reported via the regular format.

I feel that the take up rate would be fairly small at least initially, as trust issues are debated but if at some point down the line it is required (I hope we never have to use it but that’s not always the way in life), if it ends up potentially saving a life or saving someone coming to harm then its well worth the effort.

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I based the proposal on that discussion, but I couldn’t remember who started it. I agree this is very sensitive information - probably the most sensitive information we would have on streamers. We need to follow the strongest security best-practices in storing this data. Maybe there is even a reputable third-party we could partner with?

I understand the concern, but I think that severely limits the usefulness of the system (if certain people have to be around), and increases response time in a situation where every second counts. i think GCT members should be encouraged to get a second opinion from other GCT members whenever possible though. I might even go so far as to recommend a two-key-system where nobody can access the information alone

My thinking was that it would help viewers to feel less helpless, since they would be in the loop, and maybe they would be able to identify sounds the GCT member could not - such as a heart monitor watch beeping, or the EMT next door neighbour arriving home at 3am - since they are around regularly.

It has just occurred to me however, that if the streamer or anyone there were to call 911, they would essentially have to doxx the streamer to get help. I suppose the GCT member could just ask the chat what a sound is though, and the GCT member could keep chat in the loop as well

I mean…if people are comfortable giving brime their phone number…
but seriously, trust is earned, it is not a given, and it should not be taken lightly

I am not sure a viewer should hear audio. Say this is a life threatening situation - that could be traumatic for the viewer, the streamer, their families, the implicatons of that I just don’t personally see heading anywhere good. Personally I am not sure I could reconcile, this streamer is seriously ill, we are calling their family who are getting an paramedic team there as soon as possible for example - and the entire thing is being broadcast via audio.

Like, this is a life theatening situation. What if the worst should happen, and we just broadcast their final moments on audio, I feel that would be highly disrespectful. - Especially if say, the family/friends aren’t in the same state country/state/whatever, there would be noone to cut the feed when the paramedics arrive that would have to again fall on GCT being able to monitor further which I feel again that could also have implications to the GCT member trying to make sure this is cut off at an appropriate time.

To allow viewers “in the loop” as it were, the GCT could be a presence in the chat allowing people to know they are making sure they contacting the emergency representative. Beyond that, the streamer has every right to privacy, they have no control over the situation and I don’t think we should in any way support broadcasting that situation publically.

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Yeah I think cutting the feed or having the privacy shield type of thing where only GCT team members could still view the stream (to monitor the situation) is probably better. Even if the privacy shield had a message saying that the GCT is intervening to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the creator.

This way if the creator recovers (say they are having a seizure but they quite often have them), they could then be confirmed to be okay and if the GCT member is satisfied the privacy shield could be removed so the creator could explain to their chat what happened etc.

I just don’t feel its necessary to broadcast a potentially life threatening situation to a wider audience, and although there is some merit to the idea that they could pick up on sounds that the GCT may not recognise etc, I feel the potential harm (including things like a neighbour coming over and calling emergency services, potentially giving out private info and doxxing) outweigh the benefits of broadcasting that info.

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I think you have both made excellent points regarding audio. I am going to revise the original proposal to reflect changes - ie. cutting audio, and informing viewers of the situation via the privacy shield

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To add to this, I think the “privacy shield” should be a static image informing viewers that a possible emergency situation may be occurring, and the GCT is investigating and working to help. That would stop people from continuing to report the situation, as well as inform anybody coming into the channel after the fact.

As for the audio situation, currently the best bet is to completely block all video and audio. In the future, or if it makes sense at the time of implementation, I’d like to see another option added to mod permissions that would allow mods to continue monitoring audio and/or video. That would be greatly helpful to the GCT, having trusted and knowledgeable individuals chosen by the streamer still have access to things that could provide potentially live-saving information.

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I love this Idea but i think only the people that work there or whatever they are called on here should do it because if not Viewers might use it with other intent aswell that is why alot of Streamers that allow you to send them stuff has a PO Box for that reason some people dont care and will just give it to them

ya of course. It was never part of the plan to give out anyone’s personal information to random viewers. The viewers would report the emergency to a GCT member, who would investigate and respond only when needed

on the topic of phone number privacy…

there are open source phone systems like 3CX or FreePBX that you can self-host or they can host it for you. We may be able to configure it, or modify the code so that the GCT member never sees the phone number of the emergency contact. Flagging/reporting a stream could add it to the centralized contacts list (and remove it again later) and the GCT member would dial the contact from the address book

The only cost would be for a SIP trunk connection/phone number (very affordable from what I can tell) and maybe a license fee. Such a system could also be used for a future GlimHQ.

This is a good point, just because we allow the GCT to reach out, doesn’t mean we have to share users phone numbers with them. I’ve definitely seen systems built with Twilio (for example) that will dial you, dial the other person, and then you’re both connected without knowing each others real phone number. Good idea!

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I remember in the 90’s there were phone numbers you could call for cheap long distance calling.

I imagine it could also work similar to that - GCT calls GlimHQ, GlimHQ calls the person - but instead of punching in the number to call the GCT member would choose from a list of contacts. Of course GCT members would have to authenticate with a pin code or something for security if that method were used.

I’m sure it could be done with a modern phone system as well, in a more elegant way. I think amazon might do something like this so your phone number doesn’t appear on package tracking labels, but the courier can still contact the customer if needed at time of delivery

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