Social networks were born to facilitate contact with the community. However, its proliferation has caused the companies that created them to do business with the data of the users. Several neighborhood initiatives try to reverse the situation and take advantage of the technology to return to the origins. This is the case of a panic button that promotes a Catalan woman, Nextdoor an application to boost neighborhood life and that allowed actress Julia Roberts to find her dog, or the Facebook group created by neighbors of Motril to organize neighborhood patrols of vigilance.
Natalia Crespo encountered an "uncomfortable" situation one night back home by themacho and violent attitude of a group of men. The situation did not come to more, but at that time, she would have liked to have support, feel sheltered and accompanied. That is where the idea of FridaShield (Frida's shield) came from, an application that aims to be a panic button that allows not only to notify the security services but also to any member of the community within a radius of 250 meters.
"In addition to a panic button, it is an application that aims to establish a community of support oriented to women. It would allow acting in case of need and also follow up on any incident and have a support and support group afterwards ", explains Crespo.
The idea, budgeted at 72,390 euros and for which a collective financing campaign has been put in place through Gofundme, is to develop a program for the mobile phone that alerts the security services to a threatening situation and also to the neighbors of the environment so they can help while the police arrive. A team from FridaShield would remain on alert and provide support to the client during and after the incident.
Crespo affirms that the proposal has had a good reception among the parents of adolescent students worried about their trips back home after classes or at night. The application would be free and the money raised by the collective financing formula would serve to create the application and the assistance team. "There is no economic interest," says Crespo to rule out any profit with the application or with the data of its users.
There are similar programs, such as Heyhoods, that communicate name, location, time and needs to community users in case of emergency. FridaShield intends to go one step further and that users maintain contact not only during the emergency but also after it, as well as collaborating in preventive warnings about risk areas or situations.
In India, the government has forced all mobile phones that have a panic button linked to the GPS to alert the police and selected family members of a person who is in danger.
Taxi services like Uber and Ola include it in this country. In addition, the Alliance for Mobile Standards has the application I Feel Safe (I Feel Safe) that triggers an alarm by pressing the ignition switch five times on any mobile, even if it is blocked. This function is also available in some smart watches, which warn the people chosen by pressing several consecutive buttons one of the buttons.
He has also arrived in Spain Nextdoor, a platform founded in Silicon Valley (USA), free and available for mobile and web that allows neighbors to meet, ask questions, find professionals, convene meetings, borrow or exchange advice and recommendations, "according to the company. Nextdoor is also available in the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia.
Among Nextdoor users is the actress Julia Roberts, who found her dog Major thanks to the collaboration of a user of the application in Malibu. Likewise, Welsh rugby player Jonathan Davies helped neighbors affected by a snowstorm with their vehicle after seeing a warning in this program.
There are other cases of neighborhood organization through social networks. It has been the case of the Facebook page Patrulla Vecinal Motril, created by the businesswoman Ana Rubia after having suffered several robberies in her business. "In the face of the situation that our city is going through, the increase in vandalism, theft, delinquency .... Our page will be a window of communication between neighbors of Motril and annexes. Where to share notices that we can alert our neighbors to events that have taken place in our streets. Our page will act as if it were a neighborhood patrol on the street, our goal is to protect each other, "wrote the merchant. His call has been joined by 1,500 people and has drawn the attention of the local security board, which has met with her.