During a time of political and social reform, India intends to use GPS technology in an attempt to curb the kind of violence that was illustrated in the account of a 23-year-old Indian medical student who died after being gang raped on a bus in December 2012. In the works is a wristwatch that would allow women to contact authorities via GPS tracking should they ever be attacked.
Currently, India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing is designing the device. Upon approval, the Indian government would possibly contract ITI, the company selected to carry out the project, to implement the plans for the wristwatch. Intending for the GPS tracked safety watch to be affordable for everyone, ITI would manufacture a device costing around $20-$50. The watch would consist of an alarm button that, when pressed in case of attack or emergency, would send a text message with location coordinates to both law enforcement and the owner’s family or previously chosen emergency contacts. The owner would also be able to use a camera built into the watch itself to record up to half an hour of audiovisual activity data.
Will These Wristwatches Really Be Adequate for Protection?
Should the wristwatch be developed, the responsibility of follow-up would rely heavily on the local Indian police forces. As of yet, many feel that the law enforcement, particularly in Delhi where the aforementioned publicized attack took place, are currently dropping the ball where women’s protection is concerned. Advocates of women’s safety in India have said that the police’s response time to individual rape attacks (if there is a response at all) must dramatically quicken before any safety device, wristwatch or otherwise, will make any difference.
Another hang-up is the Indian government’s ability to follow through on working technology. Some skeptics have separately cited the failure of both of a promised national brand tablet PC to hit the Indian market and also the attempt to run a sexual attack phone hotline to take reports.
As of yet, it seems India is the first to pioneer a national device for this specific purpose. Should the product prove to be a top seller on the Indian market, the burden of making it work lies with their law enforcement. If a success, the device could similarly be adapted to protect children.