India makes it compulsory for phones to have 'panic buttons'

The measure is one of many responses by the government after several rape cases in the country

India has prescribed that starting next year mobile phones in the country should have buttons that can be quickly used by women to alert the police and close relatives if they are in distress.

The measure is one of several responses by the Indian government to the growing problem of rape attacks on women in the country.

Pressing the panic button will alert "police & designated friends/relatives, for immediate response in case of distress or security related issues," said Minister of Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a tweet late Tuesday.

Under the new rules that come into effect in January 2017, all feature phones will need to have a panic button configured to the numeric key 5 or 9 and all smartphones will have the panic button linked to three short presses of the on-off button, according to the country's Department of Communications.

From January 2018, mobile phones will also be required to have in-built GPS systems to help pinpoint the location of the affected person in the event of harassment or distress, Prasad said.

The buttons on the phones will likely be a deterrent to potential criminals, according to Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi. The challenge for the government is to get current users to also get the facility by next year without buying new phones, she said in a statement.

Gandhi said she would work with handset vendors so that software patches would be available for download for older phones, including at some of the vendors' stores, so that the buttons of the phones can be configured to send out emergency calls.

The new Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016 have been welcomed by a vendors' association, the Indian Cellular Association. The panic button can be easily deployed on phones with a software patch, said Pankaj Mohindroo, president of the association.

The ICA is, however, critical of the use of GPS as it would change the architecture and push up the cost of feature phones, which vendors have been trying to offer at very low prices in India, Mohindroo said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?