While going through news, we often see that the crimes rates have gone up in India with respect to women abuse.
Now, taking a step towards the protection of women, the Government of India has announced that every cellphone sold in India from next year onwards will have to feature "a panic button" configured to the phones.
The government has shared their opinion that while technology has been solely meant to make human life better, it could be used for the security of women. In essence, the move aims to help improve and tighten security for women and at the same time increase accountability of the security forces as well.
Essentially, feature phones which don't support an Android or iOS will have to ensure the facility of pressing numeric key 5 or numeric key 9 to enable an emergency call. On smartphones, however, the user should be able to make an emergency call by pressing either a special panic button for a long time or using the existing power button to do the same by pressing it thrice in quick succession.
On smartphones, it might be also possible to download safety apps which can help during emergencies, but the government are skeptic about it and have said that launching apps could take too long in a crisis.
To meet the new requirements, every phone maker including giants like Apple and Samsung will have to write software for India that includes the panic button configuration.
Apple is already known to cooperate with governments for country-specific features and it has in fact added an SOS button in the iOS 10.2 beta 3 version which we are hoping will be made available in India.
While Apple can add the panic button requirements via a relatively simple software update, the situation is much more complex in the Android setting. What is more concerning is that this could probably delay the launch of certain phones in India.
While the launch may be delayed, the prices might go up too. The government has also included plans to have all handsets equipped with a location-based technology by 2018.
On hearing the news, manufacturers have expressed concerns that mandatory GPS will increase the cost of devices, pricing them out of range for some consumers.
Nonetheless, as panic buttons may be a start, we could hope that this will have a positive impact on our nation and women's safety.