India said to mandate panic button in mobile phones

India’s government will soon require cell phone manufacturers to include a panic button on their devices, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Manufacturers will need to implement a feature by early next year to connect allowing users to flag when they are in an emergency situation. By 2018, they will be required to implement global position system technology in phones by 2018.


According to India’s Economic Times and Bloomberg, the panic button could be grounded in a device’s hardware. Authorities reportedly raised the prospect that a user could activate the function by holding down a button for a certain amount of time while a smartphone could could have its panic button activited by repeatedly toggling the power switch on the phone.

The decision to implement the requirement comes amid concerns about women’s safety in the nation, which is quickly become a top target for American tech companies looking to grow. Bloomberg reported that the country’s telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that technology “is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women.”

Panic button functions for smartphone apps have gotten less traction in the United States than in India. Uber, in particular, rolled out an emergency feature in its Indian application last year that can contact authorities and the company if something is wrong, specifically in response to allegations that an Uber driver sexually assaulted a passenger.

The company has been reticent to offer something similar in the United States, saying that calling 911 is the best response to an emergency for American riders.