It goes without saying that institutions, law enforcement and society itself should strive to try and, if not totally eradicate then certainly lessen the number of instances and emotional trauma of sexual assault on university campuses.
Rape and sexual assault is a constant hot-button topic for good reason. The latest controversy surrounded Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz and her claims that her university failed her and committed a series of embarrassing errors when the accusation was made.
So, to sum up, it’s a very sensitive issue and attempts at crassness or distortion are met with a certain amount of ire. If you weren’t aware of this already maybe you need to take some time out to read a newspaper or something.
Speaking of crassness, let’s turn our attention towards Santon Technologies and their recently released app, the rather creepily named Good2Go.
The app is designed to determine whether a person is of sound enough mind (i.e. not really drunk) to consent knowingly to sexual activity. This isn’t exactly a *SPOILER ALERT* but as you’ll find out, it’s not exactly the most foolproof system in history.
Consider the following scenario: Boy meets girl, they chat, drink, dance and decide to consummate their temporary alliance back at home. Except, the girl feels a little worse for wear. No matter, the boy has Good2Go. Will they both have their fun tonight?
So, out on the cold dark streets, he fires up the app and both are faced with the question: “Are you Good2Go? – Yes/No/Yes, but…”
Should they choose yes, they will then be asked how drunk they are. Helpfully, the options here are “sober,” “mildly intoxicated,” “intoxicated but Good2Go” or “pretty wasted.”
If “pretty wasted” is chosen then the app will say that consent has not and will not be granted tonight. If they choose any of the other options, the respondent will enter their phone number to verify their identity. With that, consent has been granted.
It’s a contrived process and in reality, who would actually use this thing? Two students in the grip of teenage lust will almost certainly see it as an ice-cold dunk of a mood killer, while any evil bastard who wants to commit sexual assault won’t be inclined to see if an app allows them to or not.
While you can’t fault the creator’s intention, it’s difficult to see just how popular or helpful Good2Go can and will be. The app’s creator Lee Ann Allman said via an FAQ on their currently down website that the app aims to “help people make responsible choices” and reduce sexual assaults, specifically on university campuses and dorms.
Oh, and one other thing: this app will play havoc with your privacy. Good2Go can share user information, including name and phone number, with law enforcement, ‘third-party service providers’ and email marketers. That’s right, law enforcement will be able to access your details on a sexual consent app. If that isn’t ripe for abuse and misinformation then what is?
So while we can commend Santon Technologies with one hand, we must take with the other; hit the drawing board again and devise something a little more sensitive, sensible and realistic.
Good2Go is available for free at Apple and Google stores.
UPDATE: Apple has since shut the app down on their site (Oct 14, 2014).