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Cellphones Communications Government Hardware

Putting a Panic Button In Smartphone Users' Hands 175

Posted by timothy
from the menu-options-have-recently-changed dept.
theodp writes "If you own an Android phone, you may have inadvertently butt-dialed 911 from time-to-time. So, wonders Kix Panganiban, why don't our phones come with a universal 'Panic Button', that would make it just as easy to intentionally dial the police when it's truly needed? Panganiban envisions "a smartphone app that when triggered, would discreetly send out a distress message to contacts of your choice, and perhaps do some other functions that can get you out of bad (and maybe even life-threatening) situations." While a quick search reveals that some have taken a crack at apps that put a Panic Button in smartphone users' hands, are there good reasons why such a feature isn't just standard on mobile devices? And, with GPS and always-watching and always-listening tech only becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous, how far out in the future is it before your person can be continuously remotely monitored like your residence, even while mobile, and what might that look like?"
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Putting a Panic Button In Smartphone Users' Hands

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, 2013 @11:39AM (#45753757)

    Is the answer not obvious? IT'S JUST PLAIN A BAD IDEA THAT DOES NOT WORK IN THE REAL WORLD! That's why it's not common.

    So let's say that you're about to get thieved by a bunch of ghetto youth. They're talking in ebonics, and by the time you decipher what they're trying to say, they've shoved a gun in your back and have relieved you of your wallet, your keys, and the phone with the panic button. Oh fuck, it's useless now.

    In other situations, you're either dead or so badly injured that you can't manage to activate the button. In other cases, if you're well enough to use the panic button, you're well enough to make an emergency phone call.

    Why is this story even on Slashdot? It's asininely stupid, with an answer that is blatantly obvious.

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @11:42AM (#45753785) Homepage Journal

    In today's world, few people seem to recognize an emergency situation. When I was growing up, the word "emergency" meant that someone's life was in jeopardy. One or more lives were in danger from an avalanche, a runaway train, a mad dog, a bank robber - something serious. And, people understood that they should avoid such emergency situations, or deal with the situation themselves.

    Today? As you point out, very stupid people think that it's an emergency when they can't get their Chicken McNuggets.

    Preposterous.

    I say we go back to dealing with our own little emergencies, and just call the cops to come clean up after the fact. After all, when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away! Let's just grow up, learn to avoid and/or deal with emergencies, and stop fretting over phone apps.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:04PM (#45753925)
    The police have worked their hardest to break that idea. I had a bike stolen. I called the non-emergency number to report it. I was told that to report a crime, I'd have to come to the station or dial 911. I've been to a station before, where the "guests" are treated like criminals, so I'd not do that. So the only practical way to report a non-emergency crime is to dial 911. The "stupid people" referred to wanted a police response because of a property disagreement. That they were black and inarticulate make news because we get to make fun of people for being stupid for doing what the police have explicitly told me was the "right" thing to do.

    The system is designed to make people make stupid choices, so we can bash the user, rather than fix the problem. One guy in the search suggested was criminally deprived of his property. That's worthy of a 911 call, as the police have personally told me. But no, lets make fun of him because it was "just a McDonald's hamburger."

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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