Tech traveller: Security issues

Terror attacks are a concern for any sensible traveller, but they shouldn't stop us exploring the world

By Kate Russell
Published 6 Dec 2016, 15:00 GMT, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 10:07 BST
Flayre App

Flayre App

Photograph by Kate Russell

Having suffered repeatedly of late, the French government released the SAIP app on iOS/Android, to send alerts to anyone in the vicinity of an attack. But the usefulness of these apps rely on relaying information immediately and, as was shown during the Bastille Day attack when it took 90 minutes for notifications to be received, they can't be relied upon to keep people safe. 

If you're caught up in a terror attack or natural disaster area, Facebook app users will get a notification asking if they're OK. The Safety Check feature works automatically if you have location services turned on. You can also use it to check on any friends who might be in danger. 

When a lot of people try to get online from the same location at once, data network traffic can get overloaded, preventing connection. Flayre overcomes this by letting you send your detailed whereabouts to up to three contacts via SMS. By granting them permission during set-up, they can find out where you are at any time by texting the word 'flayre' to you. 

The International SOS Assistance app is worth a download to keep you up to date on travel security and where to get help in your location. But the most reliable source of safe travel information has to be the UK Foreign Office website. To save you checking frequently for changes you can use Visual Ping for email notifications when anything is edited on the site.

Technology reporter for @BBCClick and author of Working the Cloud, Kate Russell picks the latest innovations.

Published in the December 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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