Don’t Panic! India to have Panic Button on Mobile Phones in 2017

Don’t Panic! India to have Panic Button on Mobile Phones in 2017

Technology to help women’s Safety! Emergency button and satellite-based navigation made mandatory next year

Mangaluru: Officials in the Indian Telecommunications Ministry have said mobile phones must include a panic-button feature from the start of next year and incorporate satellite-based navigation technology from 2017 as they try to make the nation a safer place for women. The emergency button would be activated when a designated key is pressed, for instance by holding it down for a certain length of time, according to a statement from the telecommunications ministry in New Delhi. All manufacturers, including companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., would need to comply.

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India is among the fastest-growing smartphone markets and has about one billion mobile-phone users. That’s stoked demand for technology-based security assistance in a nation with an average of four rapes an hour and one of the world’s lowest police-to-citizen ratios. Walking down a lonely road? Or nervous about your cab driver? Help could be summoned at the press of a button. In a significant push towards women’s safety, all mobile manufacturers will produce handsets with a panic button from January 1, 2017.

This facility will allow a person to long press a set of buttons which will send out an alert to the user’s family or friends, besides information on the location. The move comes after hectic negotiations by the ministries of women and child development and IT and telecommunications. For existing phones, talks are underway and a plan is yet to be finalized, where they are working towards a software that can be downloaded which will have the same function as the panic button. For those with ordinary handsets, negotiations will be made with the manufacturers so that the user can go to a service centre and get the application for free.

Establishing a panic button on phones was one of the suggestions floated in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gang-rape in December 2012. “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a statement in New Delhi.

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