No Panic Buttons On Existing Phones: ICA
Indian handset makers have shown red signal for installing panic buttons to existing handsets which are already in use. But it has ensured that all new phones- imported and locally made have the feature by January 2017, the deadline set by the telecom department in a move aimed at bolstering women’s security.
“It’s not possible to install it in existing phones in circulation,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, president of the Indian Cellular Association (ICA), which represents all handset makers in India, including Apple, Samsung , Micromax and Intex.
While the industry supported all efforts to ensure women’s safety, the telecom department had only “requested” handset makers, rather than issue a directive, to install a panic button in existing phones, which is why it could be set aside. This has come to industry by surprise and it said installing the patch on all 75 crore existing phones would be logistically next to impossible.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asked all handset makers to develop and install software patches that enable panic buttons in all phones, without specifying a timeline, widening the scope of its prior order that directed handset makers to install panic buttons only on all new phones beginning January 2017 as reported by TOI.
DoT has clarified to handset makers that distress calls will get connected to the emergency number 112, while testing of the service can begin by connecting the backend with the current emergency number, 100.
April 22 government order mandating all new phones being sold, made or imported into the country to have panic buttons by 2017 and GPS from the first day of 2018.
The DoT said that a call to the emergency number would have to go through even when the pre-paid subscriber’s balance is zero. Callers, though, would need to have a SIM card inserted in their phones for the distress call to go through.The department said that a distress call can be activated by pressing three times the existing power on/off button for 300 milliseconds or less than 500 milliseconds.
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