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Traffic lights symbolising consent

How sexual consent can help us design better technology

Author Kathy Nickels
Date 9 July 2021

In this opinion piece published by ABC online news, Jathan Sadowski and Yolande Strangers discuss consent in the context of technological interactions. Based on their recently published research, they argue that the “tech industry needs to go beyond consent events that focus on obtaining one-time, “yes” or “no” consent at the start of a technological interaction, such as during product sign-up”.

They propose an alternative model, inspired by sexual consent best practices from the BDSM community — bondage, domination, submission, masochism — which has been at the forefront of not only understanding but implementing consent as an open dialogue, rather than a single decision.

This opinion piece explains how best practices from the BDSM community — soft/hard limits, safewords, traffic lights, and aftercare —can be applied to make consentful tech by rethinking and redesigning human interactions with internet-connected things like smart fridges and voice assistants.

Read the full article here