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What You Need to Know About Sexual Consent Apps

May 18, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

The concern over mutual consent has become increasingly at the forefront of many discussions involving campus security in Ohio and the rest of the country. A previous post detailed the complexities involved in affirmative consent. Some tech companies have tried to come to the rescue by developing sexual consent apps that provide an avenue for definitive, affirmative consent.

According to Fortune, these sexual consent apps provide a way for partners to demonstrate affirmative consent prior to engaging in sexual intercourse or other sexual actions. Several companies have developed or are in the process of developing apps that work like this, with the most recent one on the market from We-Consent. Prior to sexual activity, partners create an encrypted video in which both parties explicitly say “yes” to engaging in the upcoming sexual act, which can later be used as proof of consent.

The apps’ video also includes a geo-code and time-stamp that can only be used in disciplinary hearings at the university, obtained through a subpoena or unlocked by law enforcement, according to the Chicago Tribune. The information is kept for seven years, but critics state that the actual use of the app is not practical in many sexual situations, reducing its potential to help.

Additionally, concerns over the app illuminate the complexities of consent. There is the potential a person may change his or her mind once the video is filmed, but the other partner could still use the apps’ video in court to prove consent. Another app provided by We-Consent known as What About No does includes a way for someone to say no, thereby revoking the consent on the earlier video. Additionally, these apps also do not take into account other aspects that could likewise complicate the consent, such as excessive pressure from one partner or if either partner is intoxicated to the point of incapacitation.

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