Must for Mobile handsets with Panic button from next year
In a bid to make a mobile phone handset an effective tool for self-protection, the government has said no such device will be sold from next year without a single key panic button that will connect to the nearest redressal agency with a single push.
This follows a similar move for one emergency ‘112’ number for availing services of police, ambulance and fire department.
“Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women. I have taken a decision that from January 1, 2017, no cell phone can be sold without a provision for panic button, and from January 1, 2018 mobile sets should also have Global Positioning System inbuilt,” Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Monday.
The notification did not specify which agency would connect the number, but sources in the ministry said the decision will be taken soon.
The Gazette of India notification said from January 1, 2017, no mobile phone handset manufacturing company shall sell in India: “The feature phones without the facility of panic button by pressing ‘numeric key – 5’ or ‘numeric key – 9’ to invoke emergency call.”
It also said: “Smart phones without the facility of emergency call button by pressing the same for long time to invoke emergency call or the use of existing power on or off button, when short pressed thrice in quick succession.”
The notification added: “With effect from January 1, 2018 no mobile phone handset manufactured company shall sell the new mobile phone handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS.”
To ensure safety of women in threatening situations, panic buttons installed on mobile phones should be integrated with a 24×7 emergency helpline, supported by quick response teams either by the local authorities or a service provider, domestic on-demand safety service provider One Touch Response said on Monday.
“The panic button in mobile handsets, supported with a helpline and a strong on-ground response team can revolutionise the safety mindset of all, and particularly of women in our country,” said Arvind Khanna, founder, One Touch Response (OTR), in a statement.
Last month, the department of telecommunications (DoT) issued a circular notifying all mobile phone handset manufacturers to install a panic button and global positioning system (GPS) in all handsets by January 2017 and January 2018, respectively.
In terms of modalities, the DoT has notified that all feature phones should have the facility of 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 on-off button.
“The DoT notification gives us an impetus to collaborate with mobile phone companies by integrating our services and technologies towards addressing this pressing and urgent requirement,” Khanna said.
According to the company, with OTR’s open Application Program Interface (API), mobile phone companies can integrate the service directly in the phones, bringing an assured quick response to customers who are in situations that are threatening their personal safety and security.
While smartphones can integrate the OTR app, feature phones can also take advantage of the OTR solution by integrating its SOS service with the SMS system, the company added.
One Touch Response provides ‘First Response’ and ‘Immediate Assistance’ services to its customers whenever they are faced with any real life situation involving personal safety or situations where they require assistance.