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FBI Launches iPhone App To Find Missing Children

The agency's first mobile app aims to help in cases of child disappearance and abduction.

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The FBI has launched an iPhone app aimed at aiding in the event of a possible child disappearance or abduction, marking the agency's first foray into mobile applications.

The Child ID app from the FBI allows parents to electronically store photos and vital information about their children so they can access it quickly if a child disappears, according to the FBI. It also provides a quick link to emergency services so parents can alert authorities about a possible abduction.

Another feature of the application provides tips for parents about how to keep their children safe, as well as practical advice for what to do the first few hours after a child goes missing to optimize the child's chance of being found.

The FBI is partnering with the American Football Coaches Association--a partner in the National Child Identification Program--to publicize the application, according to the FBI. The NCIP provides a physical kit so parents can gather vital data and biometric information to keep with them in case of a possible abduction.

Child ID is available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store. The FBI plans to release the app for other mobile devices in the future, as well as add new features--including the ability to upload to the app other photos stored on devices.

While the application is merely the first from the FBI, other federal agencies have been leveraging the reach of mobile devices like iPhones and Android-based smartphones to provide helpful applications to the public as part of a broad engagement effort. The IRS, White House, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Army, among other federal offices, all offer free mobile applications.

What industry can teach government about IT innovation and efficiency. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: Federal agencies have to shift from annual IT security assessments to continuous monitoring of their risks. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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