Social media enthusiasts are in a frenzy over real-time platforms like Periscope. The idea that our lives can be streamed over the Internet as we live them is attractive to some. But for others, there is a downside, as demonstrated by the arrest of a Florida woman on Saturday.
"The police in Lakeland, Fla., said in a statement that 911 dispatchers started receiving calls Saturday from viewers who were watching a woman broadcasting herself while apparently driving drunk, using the live-streaming app Periscope," writes Christine Hauser in the New York Times.
The woman invited her Periscope viewers to follow her as she went bar-hopping. "At first, the police statement said, after she got behind the wheel, two viewers sent her text messages, telling her to pull over before she killed herself or someone else," writes Hauser.
During the live stream, which has subsequently been published by WFTV in Orlando, Fla., the woman stated that she was drunk and appeared to be lost. She saw that there were 57 people watching her Periscope and asked, "So where am I right now, people?"
"Officers in Lakeland are not provided with access to Periscope through the department, the police statement said," writes Hauser. "But one officer had a personal account, which officers used to scrutinize the landscape, picking out landmarks to pin down where she was: a street called Carpenters Way."
The woman failed a roadside sobriety test and was arrested for drunk driving.
The episode is interesting because it brings up issues related to privacy and the public good. In this case, the woman was knowingly live streaming her own behavior, so any consequent loss of privacy can't really be grieved over. The fact that her viewers tried to caution her against drunk driving suggests a certain level of community support for healthy choices. Indeed, maybe the woman's choice to live steam herself breaking the law led to a better outcome than if she hadn't: she was arrested instead of involved in an car accident.