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Safer Digital Intimacy for Sex Workers and Beyond: Research Agenda

Core Concepts
Research agenda to enhance safety in digital intimacy for sex workers and marginalized groups.
The article discusses the risks and challenges faced by individuals engaging in digital intimacy, particularly sex workers. It highlights the importance of ensuring safety and privacy in online interactions. The authors present a research agenda focusing on cryptographic and systems-security directions to address threats such as deplatforming, outing, context collapse, and content theft. The content emphasizes the need to center marginalized users when developing solutions to increase safety for all individuals engaged in digital intimacy. Case studies illustrate the real-world implications of these risks on sex workers' lives. Concrete opportunities for technical research are outlined to support safer digital intimacy across various communities.
An estimated 1 in every 200 people has been a sex worker in their lifetime. More than 80% of adults have sexted. Sex work encompasses a wide range of services legal in various jurisdictions worldwide.
"People must carefully vet those they intend to meet in person, whether from a dating platform or a sex work platform, to prevent stalking, harassment, and violence." "Many risks plague online sexual intimacy, both as work (sex workers) and recreation (sexters)." "Reducing the risks of digital intimacy requires substantive social change."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Vaughn Hamil... at 03-19-2024
Department Safer Digital Intimacy For Sex Workers And Beyond

Deeper Inquiries

How can technology be leveraged to protect the privacy and safety of individuals engaged in digital intimacy beyond just sex workers?

In addition to sex workers, technology can be utilized to safeguard the privacy and safety of all individuals engaging in digital intimacy. One approach is the development of robust content matching algorithms that can help detect unauthorized sharing of intimate content. By implementing tools that allow users to identify when their images or videos are being shared without consent, individuals can have greater control over their personal data. Furthermore, technologies like facial recognition circumvention can help prevent unwanted identification and protect user anonymity. Additionally, creating usable privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies could offer a secure payment method for those involved in digital intimacy while maintaining financial security.

What are potential drawbacks or unintended consequences of implementing stricter security measures for digital intimacy?

While implementing stricter security measures for digital intimacy is crucial for protecting user privacy and safety, there are potential drawbacks and unintended consequences to consider. One drawback could be an increased burden on users due to complex security protocols or usability issues with new technologies. Stricter security measures may also lead to a false sense of invincibility among users, potentially encouraging riskier behavior under the assumption that they are fully protected. Moreover, there is a risk of overreach where stringent security measures infringe on individual freedoms or inadvertently exclude certain groups from accessing essential services due to heightened barriers.

How can advancements in technology influence societal attitudes towards digital intimacy and privacy?

Advancements in technology have the power to shape societal attitudes towards digital intimacy and privacy by offering innovative solutions that prioritize user protection. For instance, the development of tools that enable automated blocking of contacts or facilitate multi-profile support can empower individuals to manage their online identities effectively, fostering a culture of respect for personal boundaries within intimate interactions online. As technology continues to evolve with enhanced privacy features such as verification mechanisms for settings and anti-theft technologies, it promotes a shift towards valuing confidentiality and consent in all forms of digital engagement. Ultimately, these technological advancements contribute positively towards establishing norms around respectful behavior and ethical practices within virtual spaces dedicated to intimate interactions.