The thought of an app that could work like a "panic button" sounds like an amusing and entertaining one, but in reality, it's not. The app is actually being developed by the U.S. State Department as part of its "internet programming freedom" program that has been granted a whopping $22 million budget.
But what exactly is this "panic button" app?
Well, it's an app that is being brought to the Android soon which is primarily for the use of pro-democracy activists and protesters. We've seen how the demonstrations in Egypt and Libya used the internet and social networking as well as messaging to get the word out about the protests.
What resulted was a huge turnout from people who want to get involved; people who saw the call for action through the internet or through some other means.
What the State Department wants to do now is safeguard the identity of the contacts of these rally attenders through the "panic button" app. When activated, it will delete all of the contacts on your phone as well as send out an alert. You might be wondering when on earth such action may be required, but imagine that you're in the streets, protesting for your cause, when you're suddenly surrounded by government troops and officers, who will eventually go through your personal possessions and phones to look for other people who might have had a hand in the protests.
Now it would make sense to have an app like this, right?
As in everything, there could potentially be negatives to this initiative. For one, the app could be used to delete the contacts of criminals or terrorists when they're the ones being surrounded by the authorities. In this case, the State Department takes these as legitimate concerns and will address it by limiting the availability and publicity with regards to the "panic button" app.
The State Department is gearing up for more related projects for the "internet freedom" program and are awarding grants to capable individuals and organizations who can make a notable contribution. For more information, you can check the following site: www.grants.gov