Government to introduce “Panic Button” in smartphones

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The government’s plan to launch mandatory panic button on mobile phones as a security measure for women in trouble may have to wait for some more time. Confronted with a plunge in sales post demonetization, mobile manufacturers have looked for more time to clear their old stocks before getting panic button-enabled phones.

The plan was to be in place from January 1 but now the ministry of women and child development wants to introduce the panic button sometime in February, 2017. The project, which is being monitored by PMO, was analyzed by secretaries of WCD ministry and DoT last week.

It is learnt that the organizations have conveyed their inability because of expansive inventory following demonetization that has resulted in poor sales in the last two months. “They want some time but are very much on board to implement the panic button scheme,” one of the sources said.

The ‘Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016’ were advised by the telecommunications department after relentless pursuit by the WCD ministry since 2014.

Under the rules, all new feature phones will have a panic button configured to the numeric key 5 or 9 and all smartphones will have the panic button configured to three times short pressing of the power button. The phones will be required to have the facility of recognizing the location through GPS. The alerts will not only go out to police but also to informed persons.

“It is the first time in the world that the hardware is being changed so that women can press a button to seek help in an emergency. Now, we need to get mobile manufacturers to repair the phones that that have been already sold to make way for the feature,” said WCD minister Maneka Gandhi. “We are also working to put in an application so that the alert goes to 10 nearest people in proximity so that till police comes people around are alerted.”

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Sameeksha Bhardwaj, From ITvoir News Desk

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