Amnesty releases today long-awaited ‘Panic Button’ for human rights defenders

May 2, 2014

Amnesty International is working with activists in 16 countries on how to use "Panic Button".

(AI is now working with HRDs in 16 countries on how to use “Panic Button”. © Amnesty International)

As this blog testifies, across the globe, individuals suspected of posing a threat to state authority are routinely kidnapped, arrested and forcibly disappeared, often without any warning.Amnesty international launches today the easy-to-use app launched by Amnesty International. “Panic Button”, a mobile app for Android, transforms a user’s smart phone into a secret alarm which can be activated rapidly in the event of an emergency, alerting fellow activists and enabling them to respond faster.

Defending human rights is an incredibly dangerous job in large parts of the world, with activists facing anything from threats to imprisonment and even torture as punishment for their legitimate work,” said Tanya O’Carroll, Technology and Human Rights Officer for Amnesty International. “By introducing technology to the fight for human rights ‘Panic Button’ is bringing them a new tool to alert others about the danger they may be facing with a simple click.”

AI is are currently working with HRDs in 16 countries on how to use the tool and on the growing and omnipresent threat of surveillance so they are clear on the risks they take when using a mobile phone in their work,but the official website for the “Panic Button” app is up and running.

[Amnesty International hopes that activists and members of the public will help to improve the tool by downloading and testing Panic Button in their country as part of the beta – or testing – phase. Authorities know that campaigners coordinate meetings, protests and other activities using mobile phones and have ramped up their surveillance capabilities to monitor and track activists, journalists and campaigners. In a bid to mitigate some of these dangers, the “Panic Button” tool uses a screen disguise feature and requires users to enter a pin number before accessing the application. The alarm itself is triggered by rapidly pressing the phone’s power button, after which an SMS message is sent to three pre-entered contacts chosen by the user, alerting them of the distress call. When a GPS function is enabled, this message includes a map link showing the user’s coordinates and the user can pre-set regular location updates so their network is updated every few minutes when active.]

via New ‘Panic Button’ app provides safety net to human rights activists | Amnesty International.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/technology-to-protect-human-rights-defenders-great-but-should-there-not-be-more-cooperation/

One Response to “Amnesty releases today long-awaited ‘Panic Button’ for human rights defenders”


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