Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

By Edward Robson, Esq.

Major emergencies and crises can overwhelm local resources. In the last several years, self-organized digital volunteers have begun leveraging the power of social media and “crowd-mapping” for collaborative crisis response. Rather than mobilizing a physical response, these digital volunteer groups have responded virtually by creating software applications, monitoring social networks, aggregating data, and creating “crowdsourced” maps to assist both survivors and the formal response community. These virtual responses can subject digital volunteers to tort liability. This report evaluates the precise contours of potential liability for digital volunteers. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2012.

To download a PDF of the free report, visit the Commons Lab Scribd webpage here.

To read a follow up blog post by the author, visit the Commons Lab Blog “Calling for Backup – Indemnification for Digital Volunteers (November 7, 2012)”

To watch a video of the author discussing liability for digital volunteers, visit the Commons Lab YouTube webpage here.

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