videoOctober 15 2015

Callisto: Using information escrows and game theory to aid sexual assault reporting

Jessica Ladd

Databite No. 56

How might we use game theory, data, and technology to advance social justice? Callisto is an online sexual assault reporting system that allows college students to (1) find clear information about about their reporting options, (2) electronically report their assault, (3) store a timestamped record of their assault if they don’t want to report yet, and (4) put their contact information and their assailant’s information into a “matching escrow,” which are sent to the authorities if someone else reports the same assailant. Administrators at Callisto campuses are sent reports that students have elected to share and are periodically given aggregate data about the unreported assaults. While Callisto is first being implemented on college campuses to address sexual assault, this same sort of system, called an “information escrow,” could be used to address other forms of injustice in other settings. In this talk, Jess Ladd discusses the theory of change behind Callisto and the difficulty of balancing individual with community needs, and opens up a discussion on how these concepts could be applied to other contexts.

Jessica Ladd is the founder and CEO of Callisto, formerly Sexual Health Innovations, and a TED Fellow. She has been honored as a fearless changemaker by the Case Foundation, an emerging innovator by Ashoka and American Express, and as the Civic Hacker of the Year by Baltimore Innovation Week.

Before founding Sexual Health Innovations, Ladd worked in the White House Office of National AIDS Policy as a public policy associate at The AIDS Institute and as a sexual health educator and researcher for a variety of organizations. She also founded The Social Innovation Lab in Baltimore and a chapter of FemSex at Pomona College. She received her Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins and her BA in Public Policy/Human Sexuality at Pomona College. She left a PhD program in infectious disease epidemiology at Johns Hopkins in order to pursue work at Sexual Health Innovations full-time.

About Databites
Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.