Personal Security At Your Fingertips

It seems that wherever we go our phones travel with us. One tech start-up tapped into that with a new security app. If trouble comes, help is right at your fingertips.

It's the front line of personal security and it’s on your smartphone. “Susie is leaving the library late at night, she is walking out and she gets attacked, what is going to happen to her finger?” says Lifeline Response founder Peter Cahill. “It is going to fall off, countdown begins. In a tenth of a millisecond of your finger coming off the phone we have your data and are actively pursuing getting rescue services and emergency responders to your location.”

Here's how it works. The app is activated by pressing a finger on the screen or by setting a timer. The alarm sounds a few seconds after your finger is released or the timer runs out. If it's a false alarm, provide a personal PIN code.

And if it’s real? “This is Emma from Lifeline Response. We have received your emergency distress alert. I have notified the local police of the situation and transmitted your GPS coordinates. The police are currently on route to your location."

This technology is being considered at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “I think it would make me feel a little bit more secure,” says freshman Miranda Maxson. “I mean instead of just going to that blue light (campus security) I would feel more secure myself."

Kevin Knudson with UNL student government says a pilot program starts next week and could be in place by next fall. “There have been some complaints from parents and students about how the blue lights aren't being utilized as much as they should. We are looking for other ways students can feel safe on campus."

Knudson says if implemented on the UNL campus, the cost would be covered by phasing out the blue lights and moving that money to pay for the app. They would also apply for grant money. Once the pilot program ends this spring, data will be collected to see how often the app is used compared to blue light emergency services.

One concern is the number of students who don't carry smartphones.

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