Collaborating Authors

Tinder's plan for criminal record checks raises fears of 'lifelong punishment'

The Guardian

When Jerrel Gantt was released from prison after three years, he was handed a pamphlet about healthcare and nothing else. He began searching for employment, a deep source of anxiety for him, and secured housing through a ministry in New York City. He later enrolled in school part-time. As he settled into life outside of prison and developed a support system, Gantt began going on dates with people he met on apps like Tinder. The process has not been without challenges – revealing that he is formerly incarcerated usually comes up early in the dating process for Gantt.

'Law unto themselves': the Australian battle to curb Facebook and Twitter's power

The Guardian

Nationals MP Anne Webster and Labor MP Sharon Claydon are less concerned with why Donald Trump was taken off social media, and more concerned with what platforms such as Facebook are doing to stop online defamation and abuse. Webster and Claydon are the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Making Social Media Safe, a group to "highlight the environment of social media and the risks associated" and to make the platforms more accountable. It now boasts more than 50 members thanks partly to Twitter and Facebook's response to last week's attack on the US Capitol. After winning a defamation case against a conspiracy theorist who falsely accused her of being "a member of a secretive paedophile network", she wants Facebook treated as a publisher. The decision of Twitter and other social media platforms to first remove posts and then suspend Trump's account prompted outrage among some conservatives, including National MP George Christensen and Liberal MP Craig Kelly. The outspoken pair both favour changes to stop social media platforms from censoring any lawful content created by their users – a push in the direction of more free speech and less responsibility for content on the part of the platforms.

eSafety commissioner to organise uniform penalties for revenge porn


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced the appointment of online safety expert Julie Inman Grant as Australia's new eSafety commissioner. Inman Grant, who has worked at the intersection of the digital world, public safety, and public policy, will help bring the states and territories together to deliver consistent penalties for the distribution of non-consensual intimate images and videos -- commonly referred to as "revenge porn". The new eSafety commissioner will also oversee the development of an online reporting platform that the government dedicated AU$4.8 million to in October. The platform, which is slated to be launched next year, will allow people to report cases where a photo or video of a sexual nature or one which depicts nudity has been shared or distributed without consent, as well as access immediate support. While criminal penalties exist at a federal level, they are often time-consuming for victims to pursue.

Online age-verification system could create 'honeypot' of personal data and pornography-viewing habits, privacy groups warn

The Guardian

In the wake of the Optus and Medibank data breaches, digital rights groups are urging the federal government to rule out requiring identification documents as part of any online age-verification system, warning it could create a honeypot of people's personal information and pornography-viewing habits. The eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, is developing an online safety "roadmap", outlining a way to prevent minors from accessing adult content online by ensuring host sites have verified the ages of users. The commissioner's report was initially due to the government in December, however, the deadline has now been extended to March next year. Stakeholders were informed of the delay in reporting last week. A variety of options for age verification has been offered during the roadmap's development, including the use of third party companies, individual sites verifying ages using ID documents or credit card checks, and internet service providers or mobile phone operators being used to check users' ages.

Bumble makes cyberflashing detection tool available as open-source code


Cyberflashing is the act of sending non-consensual nude photos via your phone. It is an act of digital sexual violence that is often minimised through terms like "unsolicited dick pics". Dating app Bumble is trying to combat the violation on its app, while also campaigning for the act to be made illegal in the UK and U.S.. In 2019, Bumble launched its artificial intelligence tool'Private Detector', which alerts users when they've been sent an obscene photo and automatically blurs the image. Now, the dating app is making a version of the tool available to the wider tech community.