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As part of a briefing about electronic innovations planned for this year by the department in charge of electronic innovations, the Indian government unveiled early plans for a new device it hopes will reduce crimes against women. It is a watch that can alert authorities and family members that you feel you are in danger and start filming at the same time.

The initiative was unveiled by Kapil Sibal, information technology minister, earlier this week. He said the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, a unit within the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, is working on the proposed gadget. The government noted in a subsequent press release that it would be timely given “unfortunate incidents of crimes against women in particular.”

I’m really confused. This is either genius or the dumbest thing I’ve heard. I think I’ll wait to see the prototypes in action.

Putting on my technical hat: GPS locators can take anywhere between 30 seconds to a few minutes to determine an approximate location. Criminals can disable the device in the meanwhile. A good signal from satellites is required. Moving vehicles will be harder to track. Still, I’m eager to see prototypes.

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P.S. The reason your phone finds your location almost immediately is because it uses WiFi networks around you to quickly look up your location. Likewise, whenever the phone GPS is enabled, phones collect which WiFi networks are near your location. This information is stored by companies so the next time anyone is at the same place, their location can quickly be determined from the surrounding WiFi networks.

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