Wednesday February 27, 2013
Activist: Apps can help smartphone users evade danger
By YVONNE LIM
PETALING JAYA: Every smartphone user should arm themselves with a safety mobile application to stay vigilant in all situations.
Safety activist K. Balasupramaniam, who is better known as Capt Bala, said smartphone users should utilise the app to inform their friends and family, or even the police of their whereabouts, or use it to make contact in an emergency situation.
There are many free and paid safety apps smartphone users can download.
Most of the apps function by tracking users’ whereabouts using GPS and alerting their pre-set contacts or the authorities should the users find themselves in distress.
Locally developed ones include MyDistress, which was launched by Selangor police, and WatchOverMe by Chin Xin-Ci, who was herself almost a victim of abduction.
“It is important to let a trusted friend or family member know where you are, especially if you’re going to be alone, and safety apps help users do that.
“More importantly, always be alert and aware of your surroundings and have an action plan in mind in case of an emergency ,’’ he said.
Balasupramaniam added that it was crucial to always know who to call when in distress and how best to react.
“Be prepared for anything. The worst thing is to be caught off guard,” he said.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that while the apps were useful, users should use them with caution.
“There are many apps out there by various developers. Users need to be careful not to disclose more information than necessary,” he advised.
CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said technology had greatly helped the police ensure public safety, as well as conduct investigations.
“Technology, like safety apps, makes it easier for us to track a person’s whereabouts, or the last place the person was seen at.
“Besides MyDistress, we also have installed emergency buttons in most shopping mall car parks and CCTVs on our streets,” he said.
Other popular safety apps for smartphones are StaySafe, circleof6 and bsafe.