The Panic Button App released by Amnesty International has a far greater purpose than just helping us out in a bind. The inspiration behind this idea was that there were far too many situations where human activists where being kidnapped, falsely arrested or abducted. Amnesty International had no way of getting in touch with these people without a mountain of paperwork and officials to answer to. In many countries the authorities have jacked up their surveillance efforts in order to capture and torture these human rights groups at meetings or protests.
On a daily basis people’s lives are being unnecessarily put in jeopardy because of their belief systems or need to protect others who don’t have a voice. It is for this reason that the creation of this app was vital. This occurs every day in so many different countries that we are kept oblivious to. It was not solely designed for activists but for anyone who is exposed to dangerous environments daily. This could be a journalist, lawyer or anyone living in an oppressive regime.
The first few hours of someone being falsely attacked, imprisoned or kidnapped is vital and that is common knowledge by now. This app is disguised as a calculator on your smart phone and when you tap the button five times or the power button, a call for help is sent. You select your three contacts and it is advised that you ensure your contacts are reliable and aware of being on your help list.
There are two very strong winning factors to this app, the lesser being it is less than 1Mb so does not require much memory space being used. The best element however being that of when your distress message is sent, so is your phone’s geo-location. It updates every five minutes with your location until the battery dies.
A downfall to this though is that you may only get the chance to send one emergency signal. Most attackers would know that you take the persons personal belongings and destroy them. This is unless they feel the need to contact someone to discuss ransom. In my country cellphone theft happens every second and these thieves know to turn off the phone and destroy the sim card. This is petty crime but if they think this way, who can say that the authorities who attack activists would not know this.
Amnesty International can be commended on really using technology to advance the safety of those who are trying to do the right thing. There is no doubt in my mind that so many more lives will be saved for this app being made. It is an asset to anyone who works in a dangerous environment no matter what that may be. For myself living in a country with a very high crime rate and kidnappings on the rise, this app is essential. The design is clever and well hidden and even if you only get to send one distress signal, it is one you would have not had before.