To ensure emergency assistance to women in India, all cell phones will feature a panic button starting next year.
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(CCM) — Efforts to improve the safety of Indian women with new cell phone regulations were announced by Indian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad. In addition to a panic button, which will be made mandatory in Indian cell phones at the start of next year, a built-in GPS system will be made obligatory the following year. Together, the panic button and navigation system will help local police trace incoming distress signals on a map.
According to the Department of Telecommunications, the numeric keys "5" and "9" will be used as panic buttons in future cell phones. Users will have to press and hold the button in order to make emergency calls. The concept of the panic button was first suggested after the 2012 brutal gang rape of a paramedical student in the nation's capital, New Delhi.
"Technology is meant to improve human life. And what better way to do so than to use it to improve the security of women? Starting January 1, 2017, no cell phone will be allowed to be sold without a panic button; starting January 1, 2018, mobile phones should also have GPS built in," the minister said in a statement. Currently, only smartphones come with a built-in GPS feature.
All cell phone manufacturers will be subject to these new regulations, including Apple and Samsung, as well as Chinese brands, like Xiaomi and OnePlus. Mobile users who do not wish to purchase a new phone will be able to upgrade their phones at one of over 10,000 centers across the country.
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