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All phones sold in India will need to integrate ‘panic button’ starting next year

By Adrian Diaconescu April 26, 2016, 8:58 am

While you can obviously connect the hilarious-sounding but actually very serious issue of deadly selfies in India with the monumental recent growth of the nation’s smartphone user base, the local government also aims to leverage technological progresses in order to curtail violence against women.

Well, violence in general is the target of a new standard for mobile device vendors in India, which will all need to incorporate panic buttons into products sold from January 1, 2017, as well as GPS tracking systems starting the next year.

Once fitted on both smart and dumb phones, the crisis-solving feature should directly and quickly link to 112, the single, nationwide emergency response number slated to also come into effect by the end of 2016.

Instead of dialing the three digits, and potentially enraging an attacker, a distressed user would simply push a dedicated physical panic button, where available, long-press the numeric 5 or 9 key on a feature phone, or thrice short-press in quick succession a smartphone’s power button.

That doesn’t sound too difficult for OEMs to comply with, and Apple actually patented a similar but slightly more complex Touch ID trick way back in November 2015. As far as GPS support goes, the vast majority of devices sold in India already include the function, making it easy for emergency responders to locate a caller in trouble.

Why aren’t more countries looking to enforce these types of laws instead of messing with our encryption and data protection methods?

Sources: Bloomberg, Android Central

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