France releases terrorism-alert app ahead of Euro 2016 soccer tournament

France-releases-terrorism-alert-app-ahead-of-Euro-2016-soccer-tournament.  PARIS,Two days before the start of the 2016 UEFA European Championship soccer tournament, the French government on Wednesday released a new mobile phone app designed to provide critical real time information to citizens in the event of a terrorist attack.

French authorities patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on November 15, 2015 — two days after a coordinated terrorist attack on the capital killed 130 and wounded dozens more. Wednesday, France’s Interior Ministry released a new smartphone application that gives citizens critical warnings and information in the event of a terror attack. File photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

The application, called SAIP, was developed by the French Ministry of the Interior and Government Information Service following the coordinated attack on Paris in November that killed 130 people.

“This first version … allows you to be alerted via notification on a smartphone, in case of suspicion of attack or exceptional event (security accident) may result from an attack,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. “The application will take into account all major natural and technological risks and issue the related alert messages.”

The newly-released SAIP smartphone application, developed by France’s Interior Ministry, will provide crucial information to users during a terrorist attack — and in the future, any significant threat, man-made or natural. Officials said Wednesday the app features several security tools and informs people what is happening and how to stay safe. Image courtesy France Ministry of the Interior
 Counter-terrorism authorities are stepping up security throughout France for the global soccer tournament, which starts Friday, as they believe stadiums and other venues that will be busy during the playoff are the likeliest targets.

“In case of imminent danger, a notification appears on the screen of smartphone user,” the French Ministry of the Interior said in describing how the app works. “If the user is geolocated in the danger zone, a [warning notification appears] on the phone regardless of the current display.”

When a user receives an alert, there is a clickable button at the bottom of the screen, labeled “How to Act,” which gives safety instructions. There’s also a “Stay Informed” link, which displays information and detailed instructions regarding the current situation and advises people what course of action they can take.

The alerts are issued by the Interior Ministry’s civil security department, officials said.

The SAIP app was released Wednesday but officials said they are already developing a “more complete” version, which also aims to alert citizens about other types of dangers, including floods, avalanches and earthquakes.

The next version of SAIP, for example, would have been particularly useful for French residents last week when devastating floods saturated the country following relentless rains.

The application is available for free download in the Apple and Google Play stores.

The 2016 UEFA European Championship starts Friday and runs through July 10

By Doug G. Ware