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

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Aman.Sharma@ times­

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.


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