PhoneFlare has officially launched for iOS and Android and we need your help to sustain server costs. A 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer run and open-source, we currently pay for for texting/calling fees associated with our emergencies out of pocket. Even with generous grants from Twilio and Google, this is still a substantial cost. None of our volunteers are paid for their involvement, and we charge no fees whatsoever. More Info
The app works by texting friends and family your location when in danger and automatically calls your school's safety dispatch if you're on a supported campus. Triggering an alarm is as easy as ripping headphones or an accessory from the audio jack, pressing a button, or setting a check-in time you fail to meet. Advanced features prevent coercion and allow audio recording during emergencies. The app even catalogs the UDIDs of nearby devices as potential evidence. See our FAQ page for a full breakdown.
Free accessories are manufactured for distribution at campuses, women's shelters and retirement communities to promote safe use and awareness. To prove our commitment to transparency and a no-cost model, PhoneFlare is entirely open-source and available for anyone to modify or contribute to: please visit our Repo!
Led by accredited filmmaker and game designer Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis, PhoneFlare's inspiration came from an emergency cord on a treadmill. Ideal for runners and those walking unaccompanied who fear they might be caught off guard, pulling your headphones out is a quick and seamless counter measure. For more casual use, check-in times can be set where users must report within a pre-determined window or contacts are reached. Perfect for those who expect to be home at a certain time of night and want their friends to be alerted if something goes awry. This feature is also ideal for parents who want their children to check-in with their smartphone at a certain time, or perhaps for an elderly individual who wants their family contacted if they prove unable to reach a daily check-in on their phone.
Again, if a user is on their campus in our in our ever growing, crowd sourced database of more than 700 universities, Michelle Trachtenberg's voice calls safety dispatch and relays the verified university email of the student, current position, and disposable link to their updated GPS coordinates. All contacts also receive this link via text, which opens GoogleMaps and tracks the position of the distressed, updating every 10 seconds.
- Vibration, Audible Alarm, SOS Flash and Audio Recording during emergencies.
- Bluetooth Scanning and logging of nearby devices during emergencies.
- Beta auto-call/dispatch support for select retirement communities in Florida.
- Free headphone jack accessories distributed at campuses and women’s shelters.
- 100% Free with all costs including server, SMS and VOIP paid out of pocket by volunteers or through donations.
A final goal of PhoneFlare is to gather more reliable (100% anonymous) data, (including unreported incidents) that can give a more accurate picture of crime on campuses and hold universities more accountable. After curation, this data will of course be made available for free.
If you are interested in volunteering your time to our cause, here are some ideas of how you can help!
Risks and challenges
Sustaining a product that has overhead costs like server, SMS and VOIP when there is literally no monetization whatsoever is the Sisyphean challenge of PhoneFlare and we will continue to rely heavily on the community of volunteers and donors that made its development possible. If costs overwhelm us, we would reduce the service to verified edu addresses only, rather than make it freely available to any address.
A concern of many of our volunteers is that students will be reticent to share their location with campus safety for fear that minor infractions (including underage drinking and recreational drug use) might be punished, not knowing that "Good Samaritan" laws often protect them in many cases. One thing we want to make a point of doing as PhoneFlare increases in popularity is to confirm these laws with campus safety departments individually and add them to the database.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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