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France launches terrorism alert app for smartphones before Euro 2016 soccer tournament

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Credit: Google Play

PARIS–A new smartphone app was launched by the French government on Wednesday in anticipation of the Euro 2016 tournament, a month-long soccer event that is being held in 10 cities across the European country. The tournament starts this Friday.

The app, which is called SAIP–systeme d’alete et d’information des populations, or alert system of information for populations–is designed to warn people immediately of a suspicion of an attack or in the event of an attack.

It was designed in light of the November 2015 attacks in France, which occurred at restaurants, cafes, a concert hall, and in front of a stadium where some of the soccer will be played. It is available both through Google Play and the Apple Store for Androids and iPhones.

Users have to agree to use geolocation for the app to work so it knows where you are and can alert you to nearby threats, though you can also sign up for up to eight locations for alerts. No user information will be saved.

The app will not only push an alert to your phone for warnings of imminent or occurring threats, but also advice and instructions based on the nature of the threat and your location. There is also an option to “stay informed” for updates as the situation develops.

The alerts are issued by the Department of Civil Security and the Ministry of the Interior, which created the app.

To download, just enter “SAIP” in the app stores.

Facebook offers a similar “safety check” feature, which is launched after emergencies and disasters so that users in the affected area can be alerted immediately and notify friends and family if they are okay.