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'Inventing Our Way Toward a Safer Society' with Mobile Apps

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Photo via r.nial bradshaw on Flickr under the Creative Commons License

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the two mobile phone applications that won the Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge, sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the DHHS.

“We wish to celebrate all of the participants as they are part of a growing movement that is fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to tackle our nation’s challenges – including campus violence,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “They give me great hope that we will invent our way towards a safer society.”

The winning applications, Circle of 6 and On Watch, will be available for free download early in 2012. They were chosen based on criteria that included innovative uses of text, email and social media, as well as offering users quick and easy access to emergency assistance and dating violence and abuse resources, and are Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant.

“With these applications, a personal electronic device becomes a powerful tool to help young women and men protect themselves, and their friends, from becoming victims of violence,” said Vice President Biden. “Thanks to the creativity and vision of these developers, young men and women now have a new line of defense against violence.”

The national challenge does not seem to have captured the imagination of the tech-savvy citizenry, however. Only 30 apps were submitted, and just 302 people indicated their support on the Challenge.org site.

Related links:

http://challenge.gov/HHS/199-apps-against-abuse

The winners’ entries – Circle of 6 and On Watch

The winning apps – http://www.facebook.com/Circleof6 and http://www.onwatchoncampus.com

Photo of Vice President Biden, official White House Photo by David Lienemann, used with permission

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