Rise of 'consent apps' as millennials sign digital contracts before they have sex
In the world of romance post #MeToo, some young people are cautiously navigating their way through sexual relationships by using consent apps.
These devices ask the user to confirm they consent to sexual activity with another user by tapping or writing on the screen of their smartphone.
The number of such apps is growing, as they promise to provide a record about any agreement given for sexual activity, which goes into detail about which acts were and were not approved. This is supposedly set to be useful for disputes.
Cody Swann, CEO of Gunner Technology, which owns consent app uConsent, told the Wall Street Journal that the app is meant for communication about sex, and two people must be in the same room for it to work.
He said: "This is not a legally binding contract.
"This is like a digital handshake agreement. You talk about what you are agreeing to, and then you shake on it."
He is also reformulating the app, and wants to implement a panic button to be pressed at any time, which immediately withdraws any consent given.
Another idea to improve the app is to add a state-of-mind test, like a maths question, to determine whether the person is drunk.
However, it is unlikely these would carry much weight in court.
Lawyers have previously warned that consent apps cannot provide proof of consent, as feelings can change throughout an evening, and even in the moments before an act.
There are also some privacy issues. Many of these apps don't require users to log in with their own identifiable information. Data is also stored in a cloud rather than on a phone, and other apps have access to billing information and the user's contacts.