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Wednesday December 7th 2016
Technopark Living

Are “safety apps” actually endangering women’s safety?

women-safetyThere has been a spate of apps (mostly Android) in the market promising better security for women. However, a critical analysis would point out that these offer little security in real life, and worst, could even be more harmful than other wise.

The apps basically work by sending out one’s location, at the press of a button or a combination, to pre-configured persons (friends or family), with some even informing police. The problem with this approach is that these apps require GPS information or constant data connection to know one’s location.

The GPS is the worst approach – if you turn on the GPS and data, most Android phones, even fully charged, could discharge in a couple of hours. That means even normal calls will not be available, when it is most needed!

Even without GPS (in which case location accuracy is significantly reduced), most people turn off data connection to conserve power, and would probably forget to turn on when needed. Even if it is turned on, the app just sends a message – which means help would arrive only in 15-30 minutes. Some apps just send a mail, not an SMS, which means there is even lesser chance of help from the other end.

So, is it technically possible – yes, but only if the network operators are directly involved. The network operator can easily pinpoint your location, even without your knowledge (that is how police track down suspects). Until then, the apps available in the market are mere fancy ones or just marketing ploys.

The pepper spray is usually a thousand times more effective than an app – it is direct, easy and highly effective right on the spot. But most important, always use your common sense and judgement!

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