Kidnap Victim Now Endorsing Smartphone App 

A woman who was kidnapped and held by a deranged couple for nine months in 2003 is now endorsing a free smartphone app to make emergency notifications during what the software developer calls “times of need.” The app is among dozens of similar smartphone software intended to improve personal safety by sending text messages, emails or other data to designated people, but which all have serious flaws.¬†Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City (Utah) when she was 14 years old. Her sister provided a critical lead in the case, leading to the identification of the couple, and to her rescue when a passerby spotted the suspects walking with Smart along a highway. now, in a press release accompanied by a strangely glamorous photo of Smart, software developer Apptooth describes the features, including the ability to press an on-screen icon to, “share instant video, audio and GPS coordinates with his or her social network and other HERO app users within a five-mile radius using the latest geo-location technology.” App users can also invite friends and family to join the HERO network, and track the real-time location of Facebook friends and family. The press release notes, “Time is of the essence in cases of abductions, robberies, stolen property, car accidents, lost pets and numerous other similar situations.” The app does not make any telephone calls, including to 911. The messages it does send don’t provide any acknowledgement of receipt, and could be delayed or not sent at all because of cellular or other network connection problems. The¬†company includes a disclaimer in all-capital letters: “The HERO app is not an emergency service and does not replace any local authorities, missing persons notifications or national amber alerts. Apptooth encourages you to first call 911 and/or contact the appropriate local authorities in the case of any serious emergency.”

This photo of former kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart accompanied a press release promoting a safety-related smartphone app.

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Kidnap Victim Now Endorsing Smartphone App 


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