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Need to Tell Ma and Pa You've Been Arrested? In Egypt, There's An App For That

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 3 2014

When Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Ebd El Fattah was beaten and arrested in his own home at the end of November, his wife and fellow blogger Manal El Fattah were there to document and report the arrest on Twitter. But what of activists or journalists arrested alone, without friends or witnesses? They can now use the Android application Byt2ebed 3alia to alert family, friends and legal counsel that they are being arrested.

Users program the app with a specific contact list that will be messaged at the press of a button. Once they hit the button “I am being captured,” they are asked to verify this: “Are you sure?” Once they confirm, a preset SMS is sent out to their chosen contacts. It also includes the GPS location at time of their arrest.

The application was designed by developer Badr Muharram in 2011 in response to the violence in Egypt around the election. Last month he released an updated version, which lets users push the message to social networks, if they so desire.

The need for an app like this is only growing, since a new law designed to impede protesters requires demonstrations to be registered with the authorities three days in advance. It was a protest of this law that landed El Fattah behind bars.

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