In conversation with Saurabh Moody, Co-founder, SUSPECTS REGISTRY APP
The two breaking news in today’s times are: One, technology has ruined the face of the youth, and two, women are largely unsafe across the globe. A very cliche statement popular enough is that technology is a bane for the youth, has done more bad than good and has engulfed the youth and got them sidetracked. What we forget is that there are two sides of a coin. If people choose to use the negative side and glorify it to unimaginable bounds, it’s not technology that is to be blamed. Talking of women safety, it doesn’t need any justification or clarification. Women are unsafe and it has become a universal truth.
MASH Project, that stands for using technology for social good, feels extreme pride in reciting an inspirational tale, a journey of hard work, determination and indomitable spirit to bring about a change. Three mighty men took it upon themselves to use technology in a way for which it had been invented – and that too for a very noble cause. Saurabh Moody, Tarun Samvedi and Manuj Porwal developed an app called SUSPECTS REGISTRY-FOR WOMEN, which women can use to report any act of misbehavior with them with utmost convenience.
Luckily enough, we got a chance to interview Saurabh Moody to get an insight into what all went into the making of this app. When asked about what motivated him to come up with a concept so unique and emblematic, he answered blandly, “People today aren’t helping themselves and just making noise.” An absolutely honest fact indeed. Whenever something blasphemic happens, we go on beating the bush and making noise but don’t muster enough courage to help ourselves, our ailing society. Being a technologist for the past two decades, Saurabh used his plethora of knowledge in the field of technology for a cause that is close to everyone’s hearts- Women Safety. Technology, in his opinion, is a major catalyst in the process of bringing about a rapid mutation in our society. Talking of the app, he said that he just wants women to create a sense of fear in the minds of the suspects so that they abstain or shirk from taking that diabolic step towards them. The speciality of this app, he says, is that “It creates a registry rather than a panic button.” The benefits of the app can be enlisted into the following points:
1. Through this app, women can tell people about the unsafe places. Like, for example, if there’s a particular place – say a secluded road where some incident has occurred, the person in question can make a registry on the app that the particular place or road isn’t safe.
2. Secondly, if in a similar incident something actually happened with a girl but she demurs from the incident with the fear that people might judge her, she can click a picture of the person who wronged her and make his profile on the app so as to alert the other people.
3. In case of public transport use, which is by and large unsafe nowadays, if a suspicious activity takes place, the woman can click a picture of the driver and his auto rickshaw and tell him sternly that if she fails to reach home, her folks would know where she is and track him down.
4. The app also serves to provide proofs for substantiating the crime as it records the first 60 seconds of the conversation that takes place between the victim and the oppressor.
5. Through this app, women can send their GPS location to their family members and friends so they’ll know where to look in case of a mishap.
6. The proof, in the form of pictures and audios, cannot be changed as it goes directly into the suspects registry and remains safe there. This can come handy while dealing with corrupt police officers who question a woman’s dignity in case she faces a tiring situation.
7. Most importantly, in the other similar apps when one presses the panic button, the app sends out messages to their friends and family irrespective of whether they can help or not due to distance or ambiguity or any similar reason.
As in the case of suspects registry, there is a whole community lined up at Facebook and at the app profile base wherein there are hundreds of people. So when a girl in a treacherous situation presses the panic button, the community gets an alert message of the location of the girl and the contact numbers of nearby police stations. A “thunderclap” is then created through which people can create traffic at the police station numbers and keep on alarming them. This way help will reach the girl in lesser time and the situation can be tackled.
Saurabh feels that the oppressors commit such heinous crimes only because they feel that they can get away with it. With a lethargic law system and sky high corruption levels nobody feels that they can be traced and caught and made to suffer. So the whole idea is just to create a feeling of angst and dismay in their minds that they will be caught since the concerned family and community mates are aware of the victim’s whereabouts.
The sole purpose in his words was “to act as a deterrent” in this entire act of harassing women. The app leads to the profile creation of suspects and enables women to use a simple sentence to trap the suspect which is, “IF I DON’T REACH HOME, MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL KNOW.”
The road to success is never an easy one. Saurabh too came across various challenges that tried to undermine his will and hard work. Most prominent of all being that women shied away from using the app. His frustration led him to conclude that “Women themselves aren’t serious about their safety.” They are keen on using every social media app but not the ones that can help them in times of utter helplessness.
Moreover when he needed volunteers to register their mobile numbers on the app through which the victim will be able to send them an alert message or call, people didn’t support him. For two long years he didn’t get any volunteers and had to answer the calls on his own. But never did the spirit die. Today, Suspect Registry has over 500 downloads and many success stories to its name. The free app can be found at play store here : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.suspectsregistry.realbox&hl=en
The journey, he feels, was extremely testing but ultimately rewarding. The issue which is of prime importance in his eyes is being dealt with in a better way, thanks to his constant efforts, drudgery and backbreaking work. We salute him! Thank you for being an inspiration Sir!