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Sexual assault on college campuses is enough of a problem in this country that earlier this year, President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The corresponding website, NotAlone.gov, was launched to help victims of sexual assault with the resources they need to get medical help or file a complaint, but anyone can logon to understand their rights and get data on how specific universities are complying with different federal resolutions. Findings from the first report submitted by the task force are grim – one in five women is sexually assaulted in college. Even with these statistics, is an app designed to try to ensure consensual sex the answer to this problem? And what other issues does its use potentially cause?

Good2Go is an app whose purpose is to attempt to confirm “affirmative consent” – that is, explicit, conscious agreement to sexual activity before it starts. Here’s how it works:

When you meet that potential hook-up partner, you open the app and it asks “Are we Good2Go?” Your partner can either choose ‘No Thanks’, ‘Yes, but…we need to talk’, or ‘I’m Good2Go’. If ‘No Thanks’ is chosen, that’s the end of the conversation and you’re off to find someone new. If the answer is ‘Yes, but…’ the app pauses so that you can further discuss the terms of your potential hookup and decide whether or not this is actually a good idea. But if the answer is ‘I’m Good2Go’, things get a bit interesting from there.

Once your potential partner has agreed, a new screen pops up on the app that attempts to gauge the level of intoxication of said partner, with options ranging from “sober”, “mildly intoxicated” and “intoxicated but Good2Go” all the way to “pretty wasted." The app owner will be informed that someone choosing that last option cannot properly consent to sexual contact of any kind. If he or she is not "pretty wasted," they will be asked to enter their phone number into the app where they will then receive a text message code that they use to confirm the hookup agreement. The owner of the app clicks ‘OK’ and it’s on.



The problems I see with this app are plentiful. First, there is no way to indicate exactly what type of sexual activity you’re consenting to. You and your partner may not necessarily communicate all of the gory details of your potential hookup beforehand, and that could leave the door open for some serious misunderstandings. Second, I’ve indulged in an adult beverage or two in my day and in my experience, someone who’s been drinking typically never has an accurate impression of exactly how much they’ve had and whether or not they’re ‘intoxicated but Good2Go’ or "pretty wasted." If alcohol is involved at all, the accuracy of that response is questionable at best. And third, there are privacy issues all up and through the manner in which the app handles your personal data. Both phone numbers are stored, as are names, level of intoxication, and willingness to engage in a hookup situation. Good2Go’s privacy policy states that they can share that information with “law enforcement, third-party service providers and e-mail marketers — for any reason, in Good2Go’s sole discretion.” I don’t even want to think about the ads that might be targeted towards a user of this app, much less the other even worse things that could happen if the app was to be hacked.

Although the intent of this app is supposed to be about communication, consent, and the safety of all parties involved, there are so many potential problems with it that I think I’ll pass for now. Good2Go is free and available for iOS and Android.

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.



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