Tech solution

India mandates all mobile phones must have panic button for women

(NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Government officials in India are taking extraordinary measures to combat the country’s rape problem with a new rule that will require mobile phone makers to manufacture phones equipped with panic buttons. Indeed, India’s rape problem is extraordinary — according to a report in Bloomberg, the country averages one rape every four hours. Exacerbating the problem is the country’s dismal police-to-citizen ratio, which is one of the lowest in the world. The new mandate was announced late Monday by the telecommunications ministry in New Delhi and it will require all mobile phones — even those made by the world’s largest manufacturers like Apple and Samsung — to be compliant by January 2018. The panic button feature would be activated by the user pressing a designated key on a smartphone or, on older flip-phone models, holding down the numbers 5 or 9 on the keypad. “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women,” Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a statement.

Violent rapes have been a topic of national discussion in India in recent years following the high-profile gang rape, beating, and death of a girl on a public bus in Delhi in 2012. India strengthened its laws around rape in response to the incident, but just this year several brutal sexual attacks have been carried out against women and Girls. Many in the country have said the culture must change its attitudes toward to more directly deal with the problem.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

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