Dating app background checks and ID checks considered to combat abuse – Business News


Photograph: Tero Veslainen / Alamy

Background checks and ID verification systems on dating apps are among the measures governments around the country are grappling with on how to keep people safe looking for love online.

The strategies were discussed by ministers, victim survivors, civil servants and tech companies as part of a national dating app roundtable in Sydney on Wednesday.

Michel Rolland, the federal communications minister, said it was an “important first step”, setting the stage for discussion of possible longer-term changes such as background checks for users of dating apps.

“None of us underestimate the complex issues involving privacy, user protection, data collection and management,” he said.

“There is no law that will solve this problem.”

“Many examples of abuse occur without a criminal record or conviction … and so a large focus of the discussion was also on what can be done to encourage respectful interactions online.”

Julie Inman Grant, the e-safety commissioner, also issued a warning against dating apps, warning that none would meet her security standards and needed to make major improvements or face a mandatory code.

He said platforms should be transparent about how many people are being abused so the government can monitor the scale of the problem.

“I won’t tell anyone [app] it meets all those parameters,” he said.

The commissioner will issue notices to all platforms to seek greater data sharing, cross-platform cooperation on safeguards and a roadmap on how to deal with users who reappear on the app and reoffend.

“If I don’t have full transparency, I have legal coercion powers that I can use,” he said.

Rowland said the apps’ handling of complaints is a major area of ​​concern.

“We need the industry to improve its action, its transparency and its accountability in the way it responds to consumer complaints,” he said.

RELATED: Call for criminal probe into dating apps as Australian government plans security summit

Amanda Rishworth, the federal social services minister, said people with experience of app abuse and violence needed to be at the center of the discussion to deter criminals.

“There needs to be a proactive response where criminals and abusers are held to account,” Rishworth said.

Teach Us Consent founder Chanel Contos called on dating app companies to invest in educating the public about respectful relationships and consent.

Federal, state and territory attorneys-general will now be asked to examine the issues and consider the criminal justice response as a priority.

Wednesday’s meeting was called in response to the growing number of people using online dating apps and a corresponding increase in harassment and abuse.

A recent study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that three-quarters of respondents had been victims of sexual violence on dating apps in the past five years.

Tinder’s parent company, Match, pledged to work with Australian authorities to improve user safety through technology within the platform, saying “we remain focused on building safety into everything we do”. “.

A Bumble spokesperson said the company looks forward to working with others to improve women’s safety on and off the platform.

“Any incident of violence, harassment or abuse is unacceptable to us and we do not hesitate to permanently remove offenders from our platform,” the spokesperson said. “We have a law enforcement portal to facilitate access to data for investigative purposes. We will also take action against offenders for behavior reported to us as occurring in other apps.

In Australia the Lifeline crisis support service is 13 11 14 and the National Family Violence Counseling Service is 1800 737 732. In the UK Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123 and the helpline on domestic abuse is 0808 2000 247. In the US, the suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE ( 7233). Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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