large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

All phones need panic button to protect women, India rules

All phones sold in India will need to feature a physical panic button in a bid to protect women.

The Indian government has ruled that starting next year, phone makers can’t sell their devices in the country unless they comply with the new legislation.

This means that even technology giants like Apple and Samsung will be forced to rethink their handset design in order to ship handsets in India. What’s more, as of 2018, all phones sold in India will also need to feature built-in GPS technology.

The goal is to reduce the risk to women in India, a nation that Bloomberg notes has an average of four rapes per hour.

The order was signed today by India’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Indian Express quotes Prasad as saying: “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women?”

Prasad continued: “I have taken a decision that from January 1, 2017, no cell phone can be sold without a provision for panic button and from January 1, 2018, mobile sets should also have inbuilt GPS.”

Speaking to Bloomberg, Neil Shah, Counterpoint Technology research director, said: “A panic button should be relatively easy to implement.”

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2016

For feature phones, the ruling dictates that either the 5 or 9 key must trigger the panic function, alerting police to a risky situation.

But for smartphones, a dedicated physical button will need to be integrated into the chassis of the phone, for quick access in an emergency.

Early last year, Uber built a panic button into the Indian version of its app to help protect passengers from attacks.

We’ve contacted Apple and Samsung for comment on whether the firms plans to comply with the ruling.

Trusted Explains: Buying a new smartphone

Do you think phones having a built-in panic button is a good idea for India? Let us know in the comments.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.