When I worked for an Irish start up I encountered a tech ‘journalist’ type who was comically odious, the type of guy who you know wrote his own Wikipedia entry. Mr. Six Vague Job Titles looked at me through the lenses of his new accessory and said “Google Glass, take a picture.” I suspect all the xx chromosomes in the room got the personally invasive/anecdotally gold treatment. It was a beyond weird moment but the tech world is beyond weird. Just this week an app entitled Good2Go was launched – this is where you feel uneasy again. Good2Go is a sexual consent app, and before you beat the door down with questions, it is available for Android.
The tagline for this latest anti-rape innovation – remember the date rape drug detecting nail varnish? – reads, “When girl meets boy and sparks fly, and you need an answer to the question.” First, you assess if both of you are interested in doing the deed, then you estimate your partner’s level of sobriety. How charming. If you think you’re too drunk the app will not grant you consent. Yes, the app. Which was designed by a woman, not a MRA activist picketing the courts. If the app deems you capable of giving consent you go on to verify your identity with a password and you’re Good2Go. But don’t worry, if you change your mind the app kindly reminds users “No means no! Yes means Yes, BUT can be changed to NO at anytime.” Exactly like a Reclaim the Night rally, right? Good2Go claims it “reduces unwanted encounters and assaults.” And here’s the rest of humanity thinking not being a criminal reduced assault.
Despite the fact that the creator of Good2Go has good intentions and includes many steps so that would-be lovers can take time to evalute their pending decision, it strikes me as something that would appeal to the type of guys who hide behind internet avatars caps locking about false accusers. (In fact, false accusations are extrememly rare.) The idea that consent now falls under the big data umbrella suggests a disconnect, a severance of something human.
Good2Go is just the latest uncomfortable tech story to have caught our eye in recent months. Former Tinder VP Tinder Whitney Wolfe has made allegations of misogyny against the popular dating app after receiving a series of disgusting texts from her ex-colleagues. Blogger Anita Sarkeesian had to move home a couple of weeks ago after receiving death threats after a video she made about sexism in gaming ‘upset’ a lot of scary creeps. There is even a dedicated website that tracks how many days it has been since a sexist tech incident. The number never rises above zero.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun