The Department of Telecommunications on 22 April 2016 notified the Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016.
The Rules were issued under section 10 of the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933.
Highlights of the Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016
• Under these rules, all feature phones will have the facility of panic button configured to the numeric key 5 or 9.
• All the smart phones will have the panic button configured to three times short pressing of the on-off button.
• Further, with effect from 1 January 2018, all mobile phones will be required to have the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS.
• Similar solutions will also be made available for existing mobile phone handsets in the form of software patches by which same buttons could be configured to send out emergency calls for concerned telephone numbers.
• Software patches will be made available for direct download in the smart phones and installation at the mobile phone shops by the concerned manufactures/service providers.
Reason for notifying Handset Rules
The move came following the observation that in order to provide safety to women in distress situation, it is important to enable them to send out distress signal to a family member or the police authorities so that they can be rescued.
A physical panic button is much superior to having an App on the mobile phone as a women in distress does not have more than a second or two to send out a distress message as a perpetrator will often reach out to her mobile phone in the event of a physical/sexual assault.
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When: 22 April 2016