Defending Human Rights with M2M

4/17/2013

The benefits of being connected via M2M technology are vast and varied. From maximizing a business’ bottomline to changing the way patients interact with their doctors, M2M-enabled devices are creating connected solutions for all kinds of problems. Every once in a while, a connected solution comes along with the potential to change the world. In the case of a new M2M-enabled project from the Civil Rights Defenders, http://natalia.civilrightsdefenders.org, it just might.

The Natalia Project, www.nataliaproject.org, is a unique endeavor that aims to arm human-rights defenders with connected wristbands that can send an alarm and pinpoint the wearer’s location in the event of an emergency. The idea for the solution was born out of tragedy. In 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a human-rights defender, was abducted, kidnapped, and murdered, all within 24 hours. Had the world known about Natalia’s abduction immediately, the outcome may have been different.

In Natalia’s honor, Civil Rights Defenders—an independent Swedish organization founded in 1982—has developed its new device, a personal assault alarm for those individuals who dedicate their lives to defending people’s civil and political rights, often at great personal risk. The Natalia Project bracelet is worn like a wristband, so it is easy to activate if there is an emergency. Once activated, the bracelet uses a cellular connection to transmit its GPS coordinates to the Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm.


The solution goes a step further. When an alarm is triggered, the device also alerts Civil Rights Defenders’ emergency-response partners near the wearer, simultaneously broadcasting the alarm on social-media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. With this broad network of responders in place, a civil-rights defender is far from alone in the event of an emergency. Thousands of people and dozens of professionals will know within seconds if a wearer is in trouble, maximizing the chances that that person will be rescued.

The data facilitated by the device—the GPS location of the wearer—can help professionals react more quickly and efficiently to the situation. Meanwhile, the solution’s social-media integration broadcasts the event across the world, ensuring the attacker will attract unwanted attention from an international community. The device’s rugged, tamper-proof design can withstand all types of environments. It is equipped to send a distress signal in the event of tampering or removal by force.

Civil Rights Defenders distributed the first round of Project Natalia devices earlier this month. It plans to equip a total of 55 individuals with bracelets within the next 18 months. For those individuals dedicating their lives to peace, prosperity, and promoting basic human rights, M2M technology can be an integral tool in defending the defenders.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #GPS #NataliaProject





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