India Will Require Panic Buttons On Cellphones

India has approved a policy to prevent crimes against women. It will require all mobile phones sold in the country to come with a physical panic button. The information was revealed by Department of Telecommunications minister, who said on social media that the new rule will go into effect in January 2017. The button will alert the police and family or friends selected by the user when it is used.

Those who don’t own a smartphone yet can activate the panic button by pressing the 5 or 9 key. The feature can be found on smartphones by pressing the power button three times. Those who buy a smartphone or any other phones before the rule starts in January 2017 can go to service centers and have their devices upgraded.

SmartphonesIndia plans to do all it can to prevent crimes against women and a few apps designed to prevent this have already been released. Apps used to call taxis or cabs are also doing the same, last year, Uber added a panic button. Ola, a ride sharing service founded in India, also added a button. Other cab services have even added a physical button in the cab.

The decision for the physical button was made because regulators believe that it is better than an app. The button takes less than one second to press while an app could take more. Getting to an app is easy on some smartphones and they can be reached in less than five seconds but this has to be done as quickly as possible as suspects could try to take the phone away. The panic button is nothing new, it was first talked about two years ago. The idea received support and it has now been approved.

Before the panic button was approved, the country had the 112 number for all emergency calls. The current system has different numbers to contact the police, fire department and other emergency services. It is a good start but many believe this won’t change everything. A high percentage of crimes against women go unreported because some of the population believes the justice system does not help.

Next year, all phones in India will be sold with a panic button that lets users contact emergency services. The feature has received support since it was first mentioned and some officials believe this will change everything.

What do you think about the panic button feature? Let us know in the comments.