360° Coverage : Coping With Unsafe Campuses: Maybe Phones, Not Guns

2 Updates
Coping With Unsafe Campuses: Maybe Phones, Not Guns
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Coping With Unsafe Campuses: Maybe Phones, Not Guns

Mar 29 2014, 9:56am CDT | by

College can be a wonderful experience. But no environment is absolutely safe. Tragically, shootings, date rape, stalking, alcohol induced fights, and other predatory and violent incidents occur on...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

29 weeks ago

Coping With Unsafe Campuses: Maybe Phones, Not Guns

Mar 29 2014, 9:56am CDT | by

College can be a wonderful experience. But no environment is absolutely safe. Tragically, shootings, date rape, stalking, alcohol induced fights, and other predatory and violent incidents occur on campuses. Some see guns as the solution—letting students carry firearms to protect themselves. Just look at what’s happening in Minnesota, Idaho, and Oklahoma. Maybe a better way forward, however, is to arm students with a different technology: smartphones loaded with safety apps.

My university, Rochester Institute of Technology, uses TigerSafe (available on Android and iOS) developed by alumnus Eric Irish, currently Founder and CEO of CampusSafe, LLC. The app provides three functions: inform, report, and assist.

After clicking on ‘inform,’ you’re one touch away from Public Safety’s general and emergency response phone numbers—as well as information about crime prevention, reporting lost items, crime stats, and crime alerts.

After clicking on ‘report,’ you’re one touch away from solving medium-priority issues: being able to lodge noise complaints, convey that you need a jumpstart or escort, or alert Public Safety that you’re locked out of your car. The GPS feature provides precise information of where you’re located, thus bypassing the need to figure out exactly where you are and find the right words to convey it. Moreover, because the information is transmitted without needing to speak to a Public Safety Officer, it can minimize anxiety for students who would be anxious to make a phone call.

Clicking on ‘assist’ brings you to the most powerful function—a digital age version of the blue light buttons that are scattered throughout campus. By pushing it, Public Safety is informed that you’re in an emergency situation. They receive relevant details, including your contact and location information, and are prepared to speak with you via phone or text messages.

One way to judge the value of a technology is to assess the level of access people have to it. Since not every student has a smart phone, that’s clearly a limitation.

But the app isn’t replacing physical blue lights—it’s a supplemental service that simply adds new communication channels. Moreover, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf is located at RIT, and this means a good percentage of the student body is not well served by the design constraints of services that require verbally communicating with Public Safety.

I asked Eric Irish about the privacy implications of Campus Safe. He said:

“The age old question in the quest for privacy is that of security vs. convenience. With greater security, our ability to complete a task or access information is slowed with more steps and checks, decreasing convenience and ease of use.  Although I’m biased, I would like to think that CampusSafe doesn’t sacrifice one for the other… Campus Safety, like any police force, can be subject to undue characterization as ‘Big Brother.’ By offering an opt-in, transparent service like CampusSafe that increases convenience and access Public Safety can engage with their constituents in a positive way.”

For those of you interested in specifics, here’s what else he told me:

“An app like CampusSafe that deals so heavily in location acquisition is bound to face some scrutiny in privacy and security concerns, but we’ve had this in mind from the beginning. To satisfy the technical data exchange, CampusSafe runs on Google App Engine over HTTPS with SSL encryption. This is an enterprise-level deployment that can scale and defend with the same power of the Google services it runs: namely, YouTube. With the natural safeguards found in the iOS and Android operating systems, CampusSafe is transparent and indicative when one’s location is being acquired. CampusSafe does allow users to send along some optional information that would help emergency responders in the event of a bluelight press. For this possibly sensitive information, we modeled its delivery off of similar information that might be found on a bracelet or in one’s wallet. The optional assistance information is stored locally on the user’s smartphone, and only in the event of a bluelight press is it sent along with the report to Public Safety. This means that CampusSafe stores no personal information prior to a report, greatly increasing the security of such information.”

Some people will argue that in extreme situations every second counts and a smart phone isn’t enough. But we don’t know yet how much of a deterrent technology like CampusSafe will be if widely adopted. If the promise of the digital age is to be reached, that’s information we desperately need.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

EU to intensify efforts against Ebola
Brussels, Oct 21 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has decided to intensify efforts to protect its citizens, health workers against the ongoing spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
 
 
Germany, France agree to boost investment
Berlin, Oct 21 (IANS) Germany and France have agreed to strengthen investment for the euro zone economy.
 
 
EU strengthens sanctions against Syria
Brussels, Oct 21 (IANS) The European Union (EU) Monday announced it was strengthening sanctions against Syria.
 
 
Lufthansa pilots' strike causes 1,500 flight cancellations
Berlin, Oct 21 (IANS) German airline Lufthansa cancelled over 1,500 flights Monday after its pilots union announced to extend the 35-hour strike to include long-haul fleets.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla