India demands ‘panic button’ on iPhone by 2017

India’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has mandated that all mobile phones include a “panic button” to be sold in the country as of January 1, 2017. On cheaper phones that will entail holding the “5” or “9” key to call emergency services, but the order’s wording for smartphones is a bit more convoluted, requiring the “facility of emergency call button by pressing the same for long time to invoke emergency call or the use of existing power on or off button, when short pressed thrice in quick succession.”
The new rule essentially means that Apple’s existing emergency call feature, which requires the passcode screen to be activated and the emergency calling option to be activated, isn’t satisfactory. India’s law requires the ability to activate the emergency call by pressing a physical button on the phone, a move that Bloomberg reports is aimed at helping quell the country’s rampant rape problem. India currently has no central 911-type service for the calls, but is implementing a nationwide emergency response number in the next few months. Of the change, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women.”


Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.