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    With a glut of apps, women are taking safety into their own hands

    Over a year has passed since Nirbhaya’s fate became a clarion call for women’s safety. People are still raising their voices for better laws, the police are claiming to be on alert, and a mushrooming number of mobile apps, like VithU—that Kareena Kapoor vouches for on TV—are promising women smart ways to protect themselves. Here’s some of the popular ones.

    FightBack: An app developed by the Mahindra group, it uses GPS, GPRS, SMS, emails and Facebook to send out an SOS. It also allows people on your emergency contact list to track your location on Google Maps. The free app can be used on Android, Nokia and iPhones.

    Sentinel: If there’s no time to manually send an alert, this app will do it for you. Any forced power off or prolonged signal loss will trigger an alert that will go out to friends, family and the police. Available for free on iTunes and Google.

    Bsafe: This one goes by the slogan “Never walk alone.” A single tap of the free version sends out alerts, while the upgraded version ($1.99) gives you two extra levels of safety: a risk mode with real-time GPS that tracks your position and a timer mode with an automatic alarm. Compatible with iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

    Hollaback: A crowd-sourced initiative, this app is trying to empower the world “to end street harassment.” Users can either post photos of their harassers or add posts on ihollaback.org. The idea is not just to put the aggressor in the spotlight, but also to raise awareness about the issue. A free version is available on Android and iPhone.

    —Surya Praphulla Kumar

     

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