Crisis Text Line and data sharing

February 2, 2022

Topic

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Crisis Text Line was sharing data with a for-profit business started by its founder. Given the sensitivity and nature of the data, this relationship understandably seemed questionable at best. Danah Boyd, who serves on the board for Crisis Text Line, provides a detailed view into what happened and why:

The practice of non-profit governance requires collectively grappling with trade-off after trade-off. I have been a volunteer director of the board of Crisis Text Line for 8 years both because I believe in the mission and because I have been grateful to govern alongside amazing directors from whom I constantly learn. This doesn’t mean it’s been easy and it definitely doesn’t mean we always agree. But we do push each other and I learn a lot in the process. We strived to govern ethically, but that doesn’t mean others would see our decisions as such. We also make decisions that do not pan out as expected, requiring us to own our mistakes even as we change course. Sometimes, we can be fully transparent about our decisions; in other situations – especially when personnel matters are involved – we simply can’t. That is the hardest part of governance, both for our people and for myself personally.