Rabu, 23 Juli 2008

NEW YORK - In the English-speaking world, many cell phone users leave emergency contact information in the devices' address books under an entry labeled "ICE" -- for "in case of emergency."

Now, the U.N. International Telecommunication Union is trying to adapt that system for the rest of the world.

The ITU's idea is for people to start the contacts in their phone address books with the Arabic numerals "01," "02," and so on and adding a description of the contact in a native script. For example, a dad's contact number would appear as "01father," with "father" substituted with the equivalent word in other languages. The Arabic numerals tend to be universally recognized.

Firefighters, police and other emergency workers would then know to look first under those numerals to find the next of kin and other key contacts.

The ITU notes that while "ICE" has emerged as a way for people to list emergency contact numbers, "this precludes people who do not use or recognize the Roman script from readily identifying what the term `ICE' represents. ITU members expressed the need to identify emergency contacts independent of language or script."

It's not clear whether people will readily adopt this system, which ITU is calling "a standard" even though the agency itself came up with it. The ITU said it would work with the nonprofit organization ICE4SAFETY to promote the alternative.


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