Trial of Panic Button Feature on Phones to Ensure Women Safety

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The Department of Telecommunication in India issued a gazette notice to mobile manufacturers in April 2016. The notice was directing them to have a ‘panic button’ feature on mobile phones by latest January 2017.

On Tuesday 2nd January 2018, Union Minister, Maneka Gandhi stated that a pilot project to kick-start the panic button feature is scheduled for 26th of this month. Main reason behind the panic button development is to ensure women safety.

Uttar Pradesh state is the first lucky state to experience the roll-out.

Ms Gandhi said the first time of the feature’s implementation, there were so many prank calls. These calls led to the delay of the project for a year. The minister also told reporters in New Delhi that as stated, once the first roll-out works in Uttar Pradesh state, it can work anywhere else.

As reported, mobile phones will have the panic button in the form of a numeric key, either key 5 or 9. The key is to invoke an emergency call and send messages when pressed. Smartphones will also have the same or allow the use of an On and Off button.

Chetan Sanghi, a Women and Child Development Joint Secretary said all phones in India now have the panic button feature, but the back-end architecture is still under development.

How the Panic Button Works

Mr Sanghi explained that a Smartphone user would need to download an app on her handset.

When in danger, the victim has to long press the panic button and immediately, 112 receives five emergency call alerts.

After the calls, five short messages instantly follows, police authorities at the state, local and district levels receive the messages. The victim’s family also receive about three to five messages instantly.

There are also about 25 to 50 volunteers in the victim’s environs that get the message alerts as well.

In cases of non-Smartphone user’s, manufacturers have allocated a specific key used to send the alerts.