BLUF: This is an edgy idea far outside the Overton window that actually might be able to solve a part of our society’s sexual violence problem.
Despite significant cultural and technological progress in recent decades, sexual violence remains a significant problem in our society. Some of this sexual violence happens in the bedroom after two adults initially consent, but one changes their mind. Additionally, while less common, false reports are a source of anxiety for many men. How can we reduce both sexual violence and false reports?
One idea advocated by some is the idea of documenting consent. The problem with this is it does not protect someone who decides to change their mind about sex after they sign the agreement.
Here is a better solution which ensures the truth of what happens in the bedroom is documented, but privacy is secured:
1) Design a special, cryptographic video camera. I will go into details of this below, but essentially, it films twice-encrypted video which is essentially uncrackable unless both users that want to have safer sex agree to provide their private key.
2) Two people who want to get intimate can agree and set up this special video camera in a bedroom right before they go at it.
3) If sexual violence or a false claim of sexual violence occurs, it will be in the innocent’s best interest to report the existence of the encrypted video footage, as well as provide their private key, to law enforcement.
4) Any party that is unwilling to provide their private key to law enforcement will seem to be hiding evidence from the law. Thus, the word of the person who provided their private key and has nothing to hide may be deemed as more trustworthy. On the contrary, if both parties provide their private key, law enforcement will be able to fully decrypt the video to see what really happened.
5) Either way, law enforcement will have enough evidence to pursue justice and prosecute the guilty.
Technical Details of the Special Camera
The camera could look like a large GoPro, and be manufactured and sold for under several hundred dollars. Each camera would have a built-in, unique, time-based one-time password generator and a unique ID code so that the person in a potential sexual encounter that didn’t bring the camera can verify that the camera is authentic through the manufacturer’s secure website.
It can function as a regular camera (and display a “red” LED on its front), but it can only record twice-encrypted video while displaying a signature (say “green”) LED on its front. This LED is so that users know they are not being filmed with non-duel encrypted video. In order to begin recording this duel-encrypted video, two users must each input a private key.
To actually input the private key, the users could each open their app (downloaded from the Android or Apple app store), log in to their account, generate a private key (that is backed up online), and the special camera could read the private key via its own lens (w/ machine learning). Once both users have input their private key, the camera may begin recording.
While participants record their intimate session, the camera continually backs up the video to a remote server over WiFi and/or a cellular data, as well as to two SD cards that they can each take (useful if the internet goes down).
The camera would have been designed in a way to be tamper proof (e.g. an essential circuit literally breaks if the camera is opened up). A software solution for iOS could possibly be a simpler solution, but I believe a hardware solution could more reliably prevent hacking and abuse. We certainly do not want anyone’s bedroom activities being leaked.
- This system does not reduce the veracity of the word of victim’s who don’t use it. It’s just a way to protect people that want more protection.
- For people who have experienced sexual violence or false accusations, they might only be willing to get romantic if they have a system like this.
- Without this technology, individuals only have the options of:
1) deterring violence with the threat of their own word after-the-fact. Obviously, this does not always work.
2) destroying both their own and their partner’s privacy for perfect accountability (e.g. live video uploaded that is not duel encrypted).
This may not be your cup of tea, and it may not be ideal for enough people to make this worth developing. However, this seems like a valid partial solution to a particular subset of sexual violence. What do you think?