Design and Theory – Reporting Sexual Assault

As I’ve previously established in an earlier section, my application is designed to protect the victims of sexual assault and aid their ability to seek that justice be served by law enforcement and the judicial system. Technology in the past twenty centuries has evolved and allowed us to change our ways of living in virtually all realms of our social lives (Masao Kakihara & Carsten Sorensen). Taking mobile phones as an example, we recognize the development and manifestation of our social lives combining new and old technologies (Masao Kakihara & Carsten Sorensen). As previously discussed, there are already apps out there, like 6 circle, that allow the user to select a designated number of trusted contacts for quick access to intervene in case of an emergency. As for my app, there will be a safe and secure database for the unfortunate event when an app such as 6 circle shows the inability to prevent an actual assault. Victims would be able to anonymously submit police reports, which would then be stored in a database made available to local authorities. Since reasons that victims say they don’t report sexual assaults include feeling a lack of compassion from the police and are sometimes encouraged to drop charges, it is important that the initial report be recorded anonymously from a victims’ mobile app. Since we are tethered to what Sherry Turkle calls “always-on/always-on-you” communication device and the people/things we are able to contact through it; therefore we are able to build a “transference relationship” and have the ability get in contact with whatever we need at a moment’s notice. (Sherry Turkle). Turkle points out the fact that mobile technology has given some of us the privilege to not only physically access what we need, but it also has the ability to help some of us emotionally through social networking sites and avatars. For example we sometimes communicate through an avatar or disembodied vocals that allow us to be anonymous, giving some of us a degree of emotional security (Turkle). The anonymous recording feature will not cause a problem with identifying the victim because of a software that will be made available to police. Even with the possibility of police losing evidence and falsifying information , we are in the era of social surveillance; our quick accessibility to a camera on our mobile device videos and photos have in recent years transformed the capacity for civilian oversight of law enforcement. (Daniel Denvir) One is able to provide evidence in court through imagery captured on your mobile device. Even if the police department isn’t willing to use the suggested software, victims can still access the app and store data and evidence needed, like pictures, accounts of the attack, and the mobile devices timestamp. Any information will be safely and securely stored in the database and can be accessed in the event the victim seeks help. The app will also make information available to not only police working the case, but prosecutors as well. Authorities will have twenty-four hour access to everything stored within their area; should the victim decide to come forward and pursue her case, she would then be able to walk into any police station and verify her complaint. Ways to verify the victims profile would include an ip address, phone number or email. Once an officer is logged into the app, he/she will see a different, administrative version of the app. Police will be able to verify a complaint and will be provided a suggested method to approach the victim. Since surveillance on law enforcement today is a big factor in pursuing cases, if an officer chooses not to use the suggested procedures, it would be noted for prosecutors and assistant D.A.’s in their own administrative page. All of this information will be recorded and made available in pursuit of a case. Since we are in an era where our mobile devices can record audio, video, and text; one will be able to record and document the entire reporting process with police on your profile. The app would be funded by grants and provided for free as to make it accessible to those of lower financial income. Reducing the cost of communication and increasing an individual’s control of time, location and content of communication will possibly increase individualism and self-expression (Jonathan Donner), the same could be said for victims. But aside from cost, it is important that individuals should simply be able to control these three 3 factors, which would allow victims to feel more confident or empowered to report their cases. Even though not further explained in the paper, people with disabilities will be accommodated though features like voice recognition, dial-in services; rather than having that persons voice recorded, violating their privacy. It is unfortunate that just like many other technologies that are meant to help, my app could be misused, but the app will have procedures implemented to prevent such actions

Work Cited

Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everydaylife. London: Routledge. Chapter 5, p. 89-103.

Donner, Jonathan. (2008). “Shrinking Fourth World?” In Katz, J. E. (Ed.). Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. P. 29-42

Kakihara, M & Sorensen, C. (2001). Expanding the Mobility Concept. December 2001/Vol 22, No. 3)

Turkle, S. (2008). Always-On/Always-On-You: The Tethered Self. Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies, 120-137.

Denvir, D. (2013,). “Police Brutality in the iPhone era.”

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