AirDrop Flashing

Just picked this up from Davey Winder:

He is right, it is up to men not to do this and it is up to the police to do something about it, but in the meantime, it is the victims that will be forced to change their behaviour… Disgusting.

The one thing that occurred to me, doesn’t AirDrop log the device from which the image came? Surely with the MAC address of the culprit’s iPhone, it would be relatively simple for Apple to identify the phone and the related owner?

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It sounds like it would be non-trivial to identify the perpetrator:

Referenced in that article is another story about a proposed NYC law to make it punishable by up to $1000 to this kind of thing. As far as I can tell it hasn’t made it out of committee. But I think it is on Apple to fix this problem. Perhaps they could update the feature to include the sender’s phone number or iCloud account name, or provide an option for the sender to include that information and an option for people to only accept AirDrops from people who have enabled sender identification. So you’d have the options to receive from “Contacts Only”, “Identified Senders” and “Anonymous”. You’d still be open to getting harassing images, but a quick screen shot or other log would leave an easily identified trail. And rather than some kind of fine or jail time, the punishment could be disabling your phone for a period of time or disabling all features except the phone app so as to not impose an undue hardship.

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I wonder why people leave their air drop on for everyone all the time instead of completely off or only on for contacts? I have turned mine on to everyone at certain times just for fun to see what people are sending, like at concerts. But leaving this on all the time is not a great idea.

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I think it is just a convenience thing. If you’re a student and regularly or semi-regularly use AirDrop you’re not likely to change the setting multiple times; nor are you going to add everyone to your contacts just to use AirDrop with them. That would be too much friction. To be clear, I’m just speculating here; I’m an old person who has AirDrop set to contacts-only and I’ve received maybe two items since the feature was introduced, and in both cases it was my a friend sending me a link or a photo because I asked to test the feature.

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That’s a possibility. This could be solved by Apple allowing the shortcuts app to change things in the settings. Then, AirDrop could be turned off and on with ease.

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I agree that Shortcuts should be expanded to have hooks into a lot more things, but that is more of a power-user feature and not likely to make the process any more convenient for everyday users. AirDrop settings can already be adjusted through the Control Center, via the Network Settings pane, but perhaps they could expand that pane so it doesn’t require expanding it first. But this is still peripheral to the core problem of people using AirDrop to anonymously harass other people.

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This is of course incredibly crass… but I have to take a bit of the contrarian view–I think North Americans are frequently a little too freaked out by nudity. If people just don’t react to lewdness like this then it would take the fun out of it for the perpetrator and they’ll probably find some other way to get their jollies. (I don’t know anything about the psychology of these people, but I presume the shocked reaction to their actions is a big part of the appeal for them.)

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Maybe it is the shock value, but maybe it is that some of these people are just perverted and derive gratification from digitally sticking their penis in someone’s face. Regardless, I’m going to have to say the answer is not ultimately “don’t give them a reaction and hope they’ll just go away”. The person subjected to this crap is not at fault in any way because they’re “too sensitive”. What if it wasn’t sexual in nature, but some horrifically graphic photos of mutilated ___ (fill in the blank)? Are they at fault for reacting negatively to this? Would you suggest they’re just uptight?

I’ll agree that Americans are more sensitive to nudity than other cultures. Go to NYC in the summer and visit a park with some kind of sprinkler or water feature-- you’ll see European kids just strip down to their underwear and run around; American parents might do this with a two year old, but you’re not going to see a six or seven year American kid do this perfectly natural thing. It still doesn’t in any way excuse sending someone unwelcome photos via AirDrop.

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I don’t think I suggested it was okay… I called it lewd and crass after all. I just think the cops have bigger problems, so maybe the only solution is one that involves a little " sigh idiots will be idiots but let’s not reward them for it "

My apologies if I mischaracterized your position. I’ll just say that I think a collective shrug of resignation is insufficient, and that Apple can and should do more to address the problem.