Remember when we speak here of an iPhone application that the French authorities had launched to alert the population in case of danger, organizing the crowd to guide them on what to do in the event of attacks and catastrophes? Unfortunately yesterday (July 14) there was an opportunity to test it for the first time, and it didn’t do very well.
On the national day of France, July 14th (Taken from the Bastille), a truck passed over a crowd that was gathered to see the traditional fireworks in the city of Nice, South of the country. Although, at the beginning, the question remained whether it was an attack or a simple accident, the fact is that the police quickly realized that whoever drove the truck did everything with the clear intention of killing. More than 80 deaths have been confirmed.
It was an ideal situation to test the new application, made for situations like this. However, it took him more than two and a half hours to give the first information, when the whole event was over.
The app should function as an official information center, to guide the population and inform all the details, thus avoiding an absurd number of calls to official telephone centers, in addition to the spread of untrue rumors. That’s exactly what happened, with the application’s failure. Before long, it was said on social media that there were hostages in a restaurant in the city, or that fires were going on in Paris, spreading panic to the entire population. It was all just rumors.
The first alert of the app only appeared just before 2 am, and even then, with very little information. It did not explain what had happened, nor the type of attack that was happening (chemical weapons, gas, bombs, etc.). It only showed a phone number to call for more information, which is exactly what the application, at its origin, should avoid.
The idea of the app is great and has the potential to make the most of the mobile devices that are already part of our life. However, in his first test, he proved useless and inefficient. Of course, there is still a lot of room for improvement, and it is quite possible that this will be done after this first test. At the time of publication of this article, it is not known for sure whether the driver (killed by the police) had any relationship with terrorist cells, but it is the type of situation that this application should be used to guide the population.
Tim Cook and Phil Schiller expressed solidarity on Twitter.
La France is in the coeurs and pensions. ?? #Nice
– Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 14, 2016
Je suis Nice ?? # PrayForNice
– Philip Schiller (@pschiller) July 15, 2016