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Hot Button Issue: Indian Cell Phones to Feature Panic Key

© AFP 2021 / Sam PANTHAKY An Indian woman speaks on a mobile phone
An Indian woman speaks on a mobile phone - Sputnik International
All mobile phones sold in India will have a “panic key” installed starting January 1, 2017, and all devices will be required to have GPS beginning January 1, 2018, according to the official government notification.

This picture taken on May 20, 2015 shows a staff showcasing the always-on screen of YotaPhone 2 during a press conference in Beijing - Sputnik International
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All phones to be sold in the country in 2017 will need to have a panic button that can be used to send out a signal in case of emergency. In addition, GPS navigation systems will be mandatory on all gadgets by January 1, 2018.

The new rules were announced by India's telecommunications ministry in order to improve the safety of women and ensure a quick response from security agencies.

"Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women… from January 1, 2017, no cell phone can be sold without a provision for a panic button and from January 1, 2018, mobile sets should have also built-in GPS," said Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The numeric keys 5 and 9 will be used for panic buttons in the feature phones. Smartphone manufactures will have to adapt the existing power button, which should invoke an emergency call being short pressed three times in quick succession, or will have to introduce a new button. Once the panic button is pressed, a signal or a call will be made to the nearest security agency. However, the details of how the system will work are yet to be finalized.

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