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The world of online dating has taken a dramatic turn over the last several years. It used to require setting up elaborate and detailed s through match. The very thought of using these websites likely seemed foreign or a little bit strange to many at the time. Now, having one of the many easy-to-use dating apps on your phone is commonplace.

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Ideally, due diligence obligations of intermediaries ought to require them to respond in a timely manner, inquire into the complaint and take steps to ban abusive users from the platforms as well as take down abusive content. Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights known as the Ruggie Framework also provides guidance on the actions which intermediaries can take to protect human rights online, though these principles have been hard to enforce.

With respect to children, mandatory reporting obligations which are present in the laws of many countries would require intermediaries to report any cases of sexual assault which come to their attention, failing which they could be held criminally responsible. In the United States, the Oversight and Reform subcommittee of the US Congress investigated dating apps earlier this year for allowing convicted sex offenders to use their services.

Leave this field blank. Image description: Back of woman with words painted - Love shouldnt hurt. A recent investigation by ABC in Australia found that hundreds of people experience sexual harassment and abuse on Tinder and damningly, that Tinder largely ignored survivors who approached the app for help after the abuse. How Tiktok is a platform for performance and play for women in Sri Lanka.

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Other sites from APC Take back the tech logo. Respond effectively to reports of sexual violence: It can be argued that dating apps have an ethical responsibility to ensure that persons against whom reports of sexual abuse are received are not able to continue to use the app to assault other women.

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To make use of these provisions effectively however, local law enforcement officials need to have the capacity and knowledge to hold dating apps to. Her work focuses on gender, free speech and digital rights.

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Divya Srinivasan is a human rights lawyer and activist from India, with a background in research, advocacy and international law. Instead of blindly applying a one size fits all approach in cases of intermediary liability, states need to go beyond traditional conceptions and enact laws which hold intermediaries like Tinder responsible for their flagrant failure to take action in response to reports of GBV.

The site is meant to be a think tank OF and FOR women's rights, sexual rights and internet rights activists, academics, journalists and advocates.

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In some countries, safe harbour provisions established to preserve free speech online that were intended to protect intermediaries from liability for third party content hosted on their platform have been expanded to protect intermediaries from liability for any illegal acts conducted by third parties using the platform. In relation to illegal content online, these due diligence obligations usually mean that an intermediary can be held liable for failing to take down content after receiving notice that they are hosting illegal content.

Tags gender and technology internet intermediaries online GBV sexual violence. Divya Srinivasan Divya Srinivasan is a human rights lawyer and activist from India, with a background in research, advocacy and international law. The privacy policies of most apps, including Tinderalso indicate that they are entitled to release user information to law enforcement to ensure legal compliance. However, when it comes to reports of sexual violence by adult women, the laws in most countries do not impose any obligations on intermediaries to respond to such complaints.

Further, requiring all users to undergo a background check before registering onto a dating app also raises many legitimate privacy concerns and increases the sensitive and personal data available to companies such as Tinder.

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In India, a government advisory issued under the Information Technology Act to matrimonial websites requires these intermediaries to clearly publish details of the available complaint redressal mechanism and the Grievance Officer appointed by the website. As an alternative to background checks, there have been suggestions to make identity verification mandatory, through various means such as linking to a social media profile or requiring users to a copy of a government-approved ID. Identity verification could also help combat the problem of users creating multiple alternate profiles even after their original profile was taken down after an abuse complaint.

Improving transparency is an essential first step which dating apps need to take in improving their response to reports of GBV facilitated by their platform. Even in the absence of specific legal provisions relating to digital platforms, criminal laws in most countries have enabling provisions which can be used to require dating apps to disclose information regarding the perpetrator. Failure to provide the requisite information to courts in these cases could result in criminal action being taken against the service provider.

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For instance, in India, a complaint was filed against a healthcare app for failing to file a criminal report against a user who posted a message claiming that he had sexually abused. For instance, in the United States, Grindr was held to be protected from liability under section of the Communications Decency Act the safe harbour provision under US law.

Unlike other social media companies which publish regular transparency reports, most dating apps including Tinder, do not publish reports disclosing the of assault and harassment complaints they receive, the action taken in response to these complaints. A few U. Rather, these laws require dating websites to publish safety awareness notifications for its users and if background checks are not performed, to conspicuously disclose to users that the website does not conduct such criminal background screenings.

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However, the exact model varies from country to country - some require a judicial order, while others follow a notice-counter notice mechanism which requires the other party to be heard before the content is taken down. Save Preview. While some traditional concerns regarding increasing liability of intermediaries such as privacy concerns of users do remain even in cases involving dating apps, other concerns such as the chilling effect on free speech do not apply as much due to the lack of public speech on dating apps.

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5 tips to safely and legally use online dating apps

In the context of dating apps, this could take place in the form of requiring mandatory identity verification of users, or background checks to ensure that known and convicted sex offenders are not allowed to register on the app. Online Dating in Pakistan. This report once again brings to the fore the clear need for internet intermediaries, including online dating companies, to take more active steps to combat gender-based violence GBV facilitated by their platforms. Domestic work in the platform economy: reflections on awareness of worker's rights. However, requiring identity verification has also been criticized for violating the privacy of users, and could also impact the ability of women who are trying to escape from abusers to create profiles under a pseudonym, which may in fact harm their safety.

As recommended by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Womenintermediaries should have transparent complaint mechanisms for ICT-facilitated violence, and provide details of the of complaints made and action taken.

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Some Mobile dating apps take some of these precautionary measures, but the free apps or versions usually do not. Most countries lack clear legal frameworks which establish the obligations or responsibilities of intermediaries to prevent and respond to cases of online GBV, let alone offline sexual violence which is facilitated by online platforms. How digital platforms can help advance communication rights. In this context, the imposition of greater legal responsibility on intermediaries may be the only effective way to force online dating companies to take more concrete steps in response to GBV facilitated by their platforms.

On the other hand, courts in Israel have held dating sites liable for failing to remove fake profiles using the personal information of another user, and have ordered the payment of compensation in such cases. We carry articles, news, podcasts, videos, comics and blogs on internet policy and cultures from a feminist and intersectional perspective, privileging voices and expressions from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Arabic-speaking countries and parts of Eastern Europe. For example, the South African Protection from Harassment Actwhich deals with online and offline harassment, has dating provisions requiring electronic communications service providers to assist courts in identifying perpetrators laws for the harassment.

Given these serious concerns, rather than requiring identity verification, dating apps could take other steps to ensure that banned users do not create fake profiles, such as checking the IP address from which the new profile was created, monitoring for image repetition and the like. For countries without such registries, a criminal background check to keep sexual abusers off the app could be more difficult and expensive to perform.

Co-operate with law enforcement: Some laws require intermediaries to cooperate with law enforcement if a criminal investigation against one of their users is ongoing. Swipe me left, I'm Dalit. However, many countries in the global South do not maintain sex offender registries.

5 tips to safely and legally use online dating apps

Almost all dating apps have reporting mechanisms whereby users are able to report acts of sexual harassment and abuse. Safe harbour provisions in most laws require intermediaries to exercise certain due diligence obligations to avoid liability. While there are growing calls from the public for dating apps or websites such as Tinder, Bumble, Grindr and Hinge to abide by this moral responsibility, the legal position on this issue is murkier.

Requiring all users to undergo a background check before registering onto a dating app also raises many legitimate privacy concerns and increases the sensitive and personal data available to companies such as Tinder. More or less equal.