It has been two months since the 23-year-old student was brutally gang-raped in New Delhi. The public outrage over the brutal attack and death of the girl led to the government making tall promises on improving women safety in India. While many self-defence schools sprouted up, there was shrill support for using technology as a tool to boost safety in the country. A number of apps became popular on Android and iOS platforms to help women in need. We did an analysis of some of the popular ones, and found that unfortunately they were as good as the government’s promises.
Claims to keep you connected to your guardians so that you can press an SOS button in time of need. The ‘fake call’ is the best it can offer.
Fails at: The guardians may not be able to keep in touch once the GPS loses the location. Also, many could not call or reply as the messages were delivered quite late.
Circle of 6
The app apparently is quite popular in the West, mostly because of good tracking down services. In this, you can add six close people who you can depend on at the time of need.
Fails at: The app though was easily downloaded and installed, takes too much time to generate a response. The invaluable time when the damage may have been done.
SOS Whistle & Scream Alarm
Both apps, as the names suggest, are voice alarms, sending out frantic shrieks to anyone who can hear.
Fails at: Easy to download, the only hitch is people may not be able to hear the sound if the device is muted or worse they may not take the whistle seriously!
The app is not specifically designed keeping women’s safety in mind. It can cover almost all the contacts in your device. You can stay connected to your ‘family’ all the time.
Fails at: Whether a woman will get help in time is doubtful as the messages take a bit too much time to get delivered. Also, it’s more like WhatsApp where you can stay connected with friends.
We found this easy to download software a bit tacky. It’s an app that uses video camera and audio recording which can be sent as alarm warnings to contacts.
Fails at: Had it been advertised as a fun software, it would have made more sense as the process of sending audio alarm takes too much time!
The app can work only when all the cabs in the city are equipped with GPS locators and the device is in a good network area. In India, this would be a far cry!
All the five apps, hailed as the most trustworthy applications for women safety, failed to meet the test at level one. All were not found in any of the operating services platforms. The two most popular apps — Hollaback and StreetForce — claimed as women-centric software by many tech mags were not found in any software market.