Safe Cell Phone: the latest app developed to enhance safety for citizens
Meta and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice and Public Safety (MJSP) unveil the Safe Cell Phone app, a significant step in the ongoing battle against crime in Brazil. Beyond that, it stands as a prime example of technology playing a crucial role in enhancing societal well-being.
The Challenge Behind the Safe Cell Phone App
A government-commissioned opinion poll revealed that public security is the foremost concern for the population, even surpassing health-related issues.
In 2022, approximately 1 million reports of mobile phone thefts and robberies were documented by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety. However, this number is believed to be an underrepresentation due to many individuals refraining from filing complaints due to bureaucratic hurdles.
In addition to the app needing to handle a substantial number of incidents, it must also accommodate the exceptionally high volume of registrations and users. With access facilitated through the gov.br login, an estimated 155 million people can potentially utilize the app.
The New Safe Cell Phone App
The government’s latest offering, the Safe Cell Phone app, is a proactive measure against urban violence. It directly renders stolen devices unusable.
In simple terms, the new app is a platform that allows users to disable functions on a stolen phone. By blocking the IMEI (device) with Anatel, the user’s bank automatically takes preventive action concerning their bank account.
To use the app, you need to have the “Safe Cell Phone” app on your device or access the website with your gov.br login. Simply register a trusted person’s phone number (which can be more than one). In the event of theft, robbery, or loss, use the app on the pre-registered person’s phone (referred to as a Trusted Person) or via the website to report the incident. The National Telecommunications Agency, Anatel, automatically blocks the device using the provided IMEI number, prompting the bank to take necessary measures.
Thirteen entities are already involved with immediate actions through the Safe Cell Phone app. However, each entity has its own policy for handling thefts and robberies; for instance, some banks freeze the account of the reporter, while others may reduce spending limits, etc.
The entities involved are: Anatel, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, BTG Pactual, Caixa, Inter, Itaú, Pan, Safra, Santander, Sicoob, Sicredi, and XP. Additional entities may join in the future.
Development of the Safe Cell Phone App
The entire app development was carried out by a Meta team. We take pride in being part of such a significant project.
The platform is accessible on the web (computer site) and as iOS and Android applications for phones. The Meta team responsible for development comprised backend, frontend, and mobile developers, DevOps, scrum masters, QA, and requirements analysts.
For the initial app version, the team utilized the MJSP-provided figure of approximately 2,700 daily registered mobile thefts. Anticipating underreporting, the app was developed to handle five times that number of incident reports, demonstrating its readiness for a large user population.
Moreover, even in this first version, users can change the pre-registered trusted contact.
Meta and MJSP Partnership
Meta and the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety have a longstanding partnership. We previously collaborated on successful projects such as the Software Factory and Systems Support. Additionally, we actively contributed to the nationally acclaimed project—the new national identification card for Brazilian citizens.