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Uber’s ‘SOS’ button sends your location info to the police

Uber has added an ‘SOS’ button to its mobile app that will constantly update the police with your location.

The ride-sharing service’s new feature is region-specific to India, largely as a response to an alleged rape of a passenger last year.

When pressed, the button transmits live GPS updates of your location to the local police force.

It also sends information about the driver to the authorities, as well as details about the passenger. The button begins a phone call with the police too.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly in recent months to make sure that not only are you able to connect with law enforcement at the push of a button, but that the authorities have critical real-time information they need to take action,” wrote an Uber spokesperson.

The information beamed to law enforcement is displayed on a dedicated screen in the police control room.

He continued: “This latest tech upgrade to the existing SOS feature enables the police to act within seconds of being alerted in the rare event of an emergency, when every second counts.”

The SOS button is first launching in Kolkata, but could roll out to other countries if it sees success.

The company has already been testing the service in the region for a while, but is now in ‘advanced discussions’ with ‘multiple cities’ for a wider rollout.

Related: What is uber and why has it caused a black cab protest?

Passenger safety is one of the key issues of contention surrounding Uber’s ride-sharing platform, so it’s unsurprising the company is going to lengths to assuage concerns.

BK Gupta, former Commission of Police in Delhi, said: “It is important that industry and law enforcement take a strong collaborative approach towards ensuring passenger safety.”

He added: “Uber’s efforts to this end are highly commendable; their technology solutions which bring unprecedented transparency, traceability, and accountability are making moving around cities safer.”

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