Amnesty International Creates ‘Panic Button’ For Activists In Trouble

Amnesty International Creates ‘Panic Button’ For Activists In Trouble

The organization launches an app that lets people at risk quickly connect with help.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 24 june 2014

Mobile devices and social media have become instrumental in the fight against human rights abuse, mostly by making documenting and reporting violations nearly instant and easy to record from anywhere. However, smartphones and Twitter can’t stop a rubber bullet or a can of tear gas. Because activists are always at risk of being attacked, arrested or seized, they need a way to signal for help quickly and effectively.

Amnesty International has recently launched a new app called Panic Button, an Android app designed to turn a person’s mobile phone into a discreet alert system that can get them help quickly in case of emergency.


The Panic Button app allows the user to send out a pre-written message along with their GPS coordinates to a set of contacts from the user’s network by rapidly pressing the power button. The app is meant to alert the user’s fellow activists so they can get help faster.


In a news release, Tanya O’Carroll, Technology and Human Rights Officer for Amnesty International, said,

The aim of the Panic Button is to increase protection for activists around the world who face the ever present threat of arrest, attack, kidnap and torture.
We have long known that the first hours after somebody’s arrest are the crucial window of opportunity for a network to make a difference to their colleague’s release—whether it be flooding the police station with calls, arranging a protest, or mobilizing lawyers and organizations like Amnesty International for a campaign of international pressure.
By introducing technology to the fight for human rights, this app updates the power of writing a letter for the 21st century.

Panic Button was the result of an open design process back in 2012. Activists, volunteer programmers, designers, and security experts have since then contributed their time, effort, and feedback to develop the app.

The app was subjected to three months of private beta testing with hundreds of users from Amnesty International’s networks in over 17 countries. Beta testers have claimed that the app “can make a positive difference in mitigating the daily risk of their day-to-day work.”

The Panic Button app is a project by Amnesty International in collaboration with other organizations and partners such as the Frontline Defenders, iilab, and the engine room. The app has recently been released in Brazil, Sudan and the Philippines.

Panic Button // Amnesty International

Source: WIRED


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology Yesterday

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Yesterday

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Jack Dorsey

Social Networks, Payments

Travel Yesterday

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment Yesterday

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI Yesterday

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 17, 2016

Home Depot Green Energy Expert: Americans Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Green tech expert Jennifer Tuohy discusses new home energy tech and developments for renewables in the US

PSFK Labs Yesterday

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials Yesterday

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food Yesterday

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising Yesterday

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail Yesterday

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children Yesterday

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants Yesterday

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

No search results found.