How to design for consent

Check out the video from my talk at “The Conference” in Malmo, Sweden, September 4, 2017. In this talk, I focus on how designing small barriers in apps and platforms for content distribution might help us do a better job of respecting each other’s privacy.

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“Teen sexting bill hits roadblock at State Capitol”

A local FOX news segment on the Colorado sexting bill.

The comment at the end of the video about “an opponent said that we don’t ban teen sex outright, so we shouldn’t ban sexting” was from me. This is great because reporters usually don’t cite (either they don’t cite specifically, or sometimes don’t cite at all) the things they agree with. Common sense needs no citation.

CEOP to parents: Don’t panic about sexting

CEOP’s new sexting PSAs seems like a step in the right direction. They focus on telling parents not to panic about sexting, and to instead try to listen to their kids and understand why they do it. The videos make a good comparison when the narrator (an adult) remembers how her parents disliked her outfits as a teen and suggests that sexting is similar–a way for teens to “feel good about themselves,” “push boundaries,” and “experiment.” I think this may be the first PSA that offers the crucial message that sexting is not wrong and deviant; teens often do it simply for pleasure and that it’s not something to worry about in and of itself. These videos also include the important point that forwarding a private photo without permission is a serious violation.

Emma Holten: “Someone stole naked pictures of me. This is what I did about it”

Holten recounts the thousands of harassing messages she received after her stolen photos were posted online. She explains that this has nothing to do with her. It’s about the hatred of women.

Holten writes:

These messages were from men all over the world. Teen boys, university students, nuclear-family dads. The only thing they had in common was that they were all men. They knew it was against my will, that I didn’t want to be on those sites. The realisation that my humiliation turned them on felt like a noose around my neck. The absence of consent was erotic, they relished my suffering.

It’s one thing to be sexualised by people who are attracted to you, but it’s quite another thing when the lack of a ‘you’, when dehumanization, is the main factor. I realised that if I had been a model sexualising herself I would have been of little interest. My body was not the appealing factor. Furthermore, I saw that my loss of control legitimised the harrasment. I was a fallen woman, anyone’s game. What was I aside from a whore who had got what she deserved?