Mobiles Have to Come with Panic Button from Next Year
GPS location facility also a must from Jan 1, 2018; new rules aimed at woman safety and enabling quick response from police, but it’s unclear if manufacturers like Apple will play ball
New Delhi: Smartphones selling in India from next year must be able to send an alert to the police through an emergency call button or by thrice pressing their on and off button in quick succession.
Mobiles with no operating system will have the panic button facility by long pressing of the numeric 5 or 9 button from 2017. All mobile phone manufacturers will have to incorporate the said feature in their phones to be able to sell the same in India from 2017. Though Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said last December that all manufacturers were on board for the same, it remains unclear if manufacturers like Apple would play ball. The new rules — Panic button and Global Positioning System facility in all mobile phone handsets Rules, 2016 — have specified that no manufacturing company shall sell mobile handphone sets in India from January 1, 2017, without the facility of having a panic button and all phones will com- pulsorily also have GPS location facility from January 1, 2018. The rules stand notified on April 22.
These new rules are aimed at woman safety and enabling quick response from police.
The principle is that a women in trouble may not have the time or opportunity to dial 100 from her mobi-
le and should be able to send an alert by simple press of a button. A GPS-mandated phone would enable police receiving that alert to be able to zero in on the location of the women in distress and rush help to her as soon as possible. It is unclear if old mobile phones will also get the new panic alarm button feature – the new rules remain silent on that, though Maneka Gandhi earlier said older phones would also be upgraded for the same.
The rules divide mobile phones into two categories – Feature Mobile Phones and Smart Phones. Smart Phones have been defined under the new rules as those which have an advanced mobile operating system combining the features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld use. New Smart Phones to be sold from January 1, 2017 are mandated to have an emergency call button or use of existing power on/off button, when short pressed thrice in quick succession, for sending out panic/ emergency alerts.
The feature mobile phones have been defined as those which incorporate features such as the ability to access internet and store and play music but lacks the operating system feature of a personal computer – basically referring to cheaper phones which invariably come with a physical keypad.
“The Feature mobile phones will have the facility of a panic button by pressing Numeric key 5 or Numeric key 9 to invoke an emergency call,” the new notified rules have said.