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France gets national emergency app for Euro 2016

Telecommunications

The French government has released a free app, which silently warns citizens in the case of a national emergency.

Since last year’s tragic Paris terrorist attacks, France has been under a state of emergency. This month, it is hosting the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament and has 100,000 soldiers and police on the ground for security. Now, for extra support, the French government has introduced the free SAIP app for smartphones to aid communication in a national emergency.

The smartphone app, which translates as ‘Population Alert and Information System’, was created by Devreryware and is available in French and English. Once downloaded, SAIP provides silent push notifications to citizens in the event of a suspected terrorist attack or other national emergencies. The app uses geolocation to ascertain whether the user is in the danger zone and if so, sends a simple ‘Alert’ notice by turning their screens red. It also provides a simple description of the situation, and if prompted, tells the user if a police operation is underway and gives advice about what to do. Since the app is silent and doesn’t cause vibrations, it wouldn’t alert any nearby possible attackers.

SAIP was initially created as a way of communicating any armed attacks or bombings with French citizens, but it is expected to be updated to provide information about other emergencies such as floods or industrial accidents. It could also be used by other countries in the future.

How else could smartphone apps be used to provide reliable information as a counterpoint to the mixed messages on social media?

Website: www.play.google.com/SAIP

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