Project Details

Contributors to the Panic Button design day

Panic Button

Providing a hidden app for human rights activists at risk in the field.

By Amnesty International

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @amnesty

Organisation URL:
Organisation Twitter: @AmnestyOnline

  • Community Engagement
  • Social Exclusion
  • Geolocation
  • Mobile
  • Open Source

Human rights activists are under threat around the world, often subject to violence, torture or kidnapping. These individuals are on the front line of repression and harassment from their own governments for carrying out their legitimate work and exposing human rights abuses.

When faced with danger of arrest, attack or torture, there is very often no time for human rights activists to alert colleagues as to their situation or to seek assistance. This leaves them in a precarious situation without friends, families and colleagues knowing anything about their whereabouts or being able to take immediate action to help them.
In 2014, Amnesty launched a new app designed to allow activists to quickly hit a 'panic button' through their mobile phone. This immediately sends out a pre-customised message and location information to 3 selected contacts.
Amnesty won a Google Impact Award of £100k in 2013 to launch the app globally, and to train more than 100 activists in 16 countries in how to use it most effectively.

As one human rights defender, in Mexico says: “The Panic Button is a fundamental strategy for alerting but also for devising a security plan and articulating this with our contacts so that the plan is strategic and coordinated."

Image courtesy of Penn State

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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