Mobile phones sold in India will be required to have a “panic button” after Jan. 1, part of the government’s efforts to address women’s safety in a country where incidents of reported rape continue to rise.
“It's a game changer,” Maneka Gandhi, the minister of women and child development, told reporters Tuesday.
The country’s department of telecommunications set up new rules released this week that require all low-tech feature phones to have a panic button configured to the number key 5 or 9 and all smartphones to have a feature that will engage when the on-off button is pressed three times.
Officials decided that having a physical “panic button” was faster than using an application for the mobile phone, Gandhi’s ministry said. In addition, all mobile phones will be required to have GPS by 2018.
The Indian Cellular Association, which represents the cellphone industry, has expressed support for the plan, but “it remains unclear whether manufacturers like Apple would play ball,” the daily Business Standard noted.
Read the whole story. Image credits: Residents of a village on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India, pose with smartphones and a laptop. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)
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