Centre likely to make GPS mandatory in feature phones

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New Delhi: The Center is likely to make GPS mandatory in feature phones by withdrawing an exemption it had granted earlier, as per the official sources.

The Centre in 2016 had ordered all mobile manufacturers to mandatorily provide panic button and Global Positioning System (GPS) facility on cell phones aimed at helping women in distress. However, it granted exemption to feature and non-smart phones in November 2017 following concerns of a rise increase in the manufacturing costs.

“The telecom ministry has assured us that it will reverse its November order and restore the circular of 2016,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).

“While GPS could raise the cost of a phone by Rs 200, we feel people will be willing to pay extra. It is in the interest of safety of people. We have seat belts and airbags in cars which raise costs but people pay for them as they are an essential safety feature,” the official said.

GPS is acknowledged to be a better way of tracking over alternative methods such as triangulation of mobile phone towers. It is largely held that tracking phones through cell tower triangulation is not effective, particularly in rural areas where mobile towers are far apart and do not give a precise estimation of the location of a phone.

In the hindsight to a spurt in crimes against women across the country, that move signals a step in the right direction that will serve the purpose of helping out women in distress situations.

Report: Mohammed Tahsin



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