By Monica Short, MCASA Program Intern
In an age where “yes means yes” and “consent is sexy” are often touted by sexual assault advocates, one might assume that affirmative consent apps are an effective way to promote healthy consensual sexual relationships. Apps like SaSie purport to provide legally binding contracts that protect users from sexual assault litigation after a consensual sexual encounter. However, these apps are both misleading and dangerous and have numerous implications for users of which it is important to be aware.
SaSie (Safe and Secure intimate encounters) is a free app currently available for IOS. After downloading the app, SaSie users provide their name, email address, and password before submitting a picture of their photo ID and signing an agreement. The SaSie website states that the app “gives users agency and direct evidence of consent occurring” and “provides students with education about the exact wording of affirmative consent legislation.”
One major concern with this app is that it requires the users to pause to read the contract they are signing. This does not take into account the often spontaneous nature of many sexual encounters, and the fact that people may sign the contract without thoroughly understanding potential legal implications.
While users agree to the contract and upload their identification information, there is no way to guarantee that one user did not coerce or pressure another user to sign the agreement. These apps also completely miss the point of affirmative consent, which is misleading considering that it is labeled as an “affirmative consent app”. Jaclyn Friedman, editor of Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape, states: “People think about consent in terms of ‘I need to cover my ass so no one can accuse me of rape.’ And honestly, when you’re approaching consent from that angle, that’s a really rapey angle...it’s about covering your butt instead of actually showing up for your partner.” 
Another significant concern is the suggestion that consent cannot be rescinded after a sexual encounter has begun. SaSie provides a method for sexual partners to consent to a particular sexual encounter, but there is no way to ensure that the “consent” in the app has continued in a given situation. SaSie also may imply that once a user provides consent, they are unable to rescind it in the future, a particularly salient concern with regard to sexual assault in acquaintance and intimate partner relationships.
There are serious dangers to using affirmative consent apps like SaSie as avenues for obtaining consent. The fact that these apps neglect to give the user the ability to rescind consent is problematic, as well as the issue of the user signing a contract without fully understanding the ramifications that could arise. The dangerous and even deceptive nature of these apps should not be dismissed. Apps are not a substitute for direct communication with a person one wishes to have sex with.
 Retrieved from http://sasie.date/  Alptraum, L. (2016). The problem with sexual consent apps. Motherboard. Retrieved from http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-problem-with-sexual-consent-apps