AN APP FOR SEXUAL CONSENT
Developers in Denmark have produced an app that allows partners to use their smartphones to give sexual consent.
The app, called iConsent, was designed in response to new sexual consent laws in Denmark, under which any sexual act for which there is no explicit consent is classed as rape.
iConsent users can send a consent request to their partner, who can then choose to accept or reject the request using the app on their own phone.
Critics of the app say it undermines the status of verbal consent by giving the impression that only written consent is legally binding. However, co-developer Anna Fast Nilsson told Wired the app is “for younger people who are used to using their mobile phones for everything…they might be more comfortable talking about something digitally.”
The app, which is free to download, has had over 1,000 installs and is rated 3.2 stars out of 5 on the Google Play store, at the time of writing.
APPLE TO SCAN IOS DEVICES FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL
Technology giant Apple has announced plans to identify child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on its iPhone and iPad devices in the United States.
The new software will draw comparisons between users’ iCloud picture library and an image database from the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to detect CSAM content.
Apple has said that the technology has an “extremely high level of accuracy and ensures less than a one in one trillion chance per year of incorrectly flagging a given account”.
The announcement has raised concerns over potential violations of user privacy involved in the image scanning process.
“Regardless of what Apple’s long-term plans are, they’ve sent a very clear signal. In their (very influential) opinion, it is safe to build systems that scan users’ phones for prohibited content,” said Matthew Green, a security researcher at Johns Hopkins University.
The detection software will be installed as part of an iOS and iPad OS update later this year.
Future updates for accounts set up as families in iCloud for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey will also benefit from new tools to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos.
BAN ‘NUDIFYING’ SOFTWARE: MARIA MILLER
Conservative MP Maria Miller has called for a parliamentary debate on the implications of AI-generated nude images.
The nudifying tool, from the website DeepSukebe, uses AI to generate realistic nudes of people based on pictures of them clothed.
Concerns have been raised over the ethical implications of the new technology, as well as the potential for it to be used for online sexual abuse, such as in acts of revenge porn.
Miller has called for the regulation of the technology to be incorporated into the terms of the Online Safety Bill.
“At the moment, making, taking or distributing without consent intimate sexual images online or through digital technology falls mostly outside of the law,” Miller told the BBC.
“It should be a sexual offense to distribute sexual images online without consent, reflecting the severity of the impact on people’s lives.”
WHATSAPP ‘VIEW ONCE’ FEATURE RAISES CHILD SAFETY CONCERNS
A new feature being introduced on WhatsApp has raised concerns over the potential harm to children.
The feature, called ‘view once’, can be installed in WhatsApp’s latest software update and allows users to send photos and videos that disappear after being viewed once by the recipient.
While designed to share sensitive information and protect user privacy, it is feared the new tool will be used by sex offenders to exchange pornographic material without being detected, putting children at greater risk.
“Facebook must spell out how they’ve mitigated these risks, but this is seemingly another example of tech firms failing to consider the protection of children when balancing the rights of users to privacy and safety,” said Alison Trew, senior child safety online policy officer at the NSPCC.
“Regulation must put this right by embedding the principle of safety by design in companies to ensure they consider how changes to products and services will affect their response to the child abuse threat.”
The Gooseberry Planet newsletter will now be paused for a two-week summer break. We will return for our next update on August 30.
Gooseberry Planet’s detailed lesson plans and teacher advice sheets help schools deliver engaging and up to date online safety lessons. Visit our website for more details.