France launches smartphone app for terror alerts

The French government has launched a smartphone app that would alert users to possible terror attacks and provide them with information on how to stay safe. The French Interior Ministry announced the app ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament, which kicks off outside Paris.

The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), was developed as part of a pilot project following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. It will use geolocation to deliver information tailored to each user’s location, with alerts appearing less than 15 minutes after an incident is confirmed.

Users will also be able to view alerts for up to eight different geographical areas, in case they want to check up on friends or family during an attack, and can share alerts directly to social media. The app will be available in French and English, and will be free to download on iOS and Android.

The hope is that the app will help facilitate the spread of reliable information on social media during an attack, while lightening the burden on France’s emergency telephone lines.