‘Ageing’ Hawk Eye app of Telangana police loses its teeth

Failure of the authorities to update the well-accepted app, used for lodging complaints of lost mobile phones, has left many in the lurch

Updated - April 29, 2024 01:29 pm IST

Published - April 28, 2024 08:03 pm IST - HYDERABAD

When people recently tried to download Telangana police’s Hawk Eye app in an iOS device, the response message read, “This app isn’t available for your device because it was made for an older version of Android.”

When people recently tried to download Telangana police’s Hawk Eye app in an iOS device, the response message read, “This app isn’t available for your device because it was made for an older version of Android.” | Photo Credit: By Arrangement

 

A routine shopping at the Sunday market in Secunderabad turned into an harrowing experience for Mahendra Kumar when he lost his new mobile phone.

“The moment I realised that my phone was not in my pocket, I tried calling the number through my wife’s phone and it was already switched off,” the 56-year-old former Army official said. The next step for him was to call his 30-year-old tech savvy son, who immediately looked up for Hawk Eye, a mobile application of the Telangana police to lodge lost phone complaints.

When people recently tried to download Telangana police’s Hawk Eye app in an iOS device, the response message read, “This app isn’t available for your device because it was made for an older version of Android.”

When people recently tried to download Telangana police’s Hawk Eye app in an iOS device, the response message read, “This app isn’t available for your device because it was made for an older version of Android.” | Photo Credit: By Arrangement

To his surprise the application was nowhere to be found on his iOS device. On searching Android’s Play Store, the screen read: “This app isn’t available for your device because it was made for an older version of Android.”

On Monday, 26-year-old Pranav Mishra (name changed) lost his phone and laptop on his way back from his office in the IT belt of the city. Anxious, he hurried to his roommate to request him to lodge a complaint via the app. However, what followed was no different from the case of Mr. Kumar.

The failure of the authorities to get the app, which was launched in 2014, upgraded time to time has left citizens in the lurch.

With over five lakh downloads on Play Store alone, Hawk Eye was well accepted by users as it enabled them to instantly lodge a complaint by entering the IMEI number, phone number and description of how they lost the device, following which the city police were on the job.

The two cases cited above were on Android 14, the latest version that was released in October 2023. Notably, the app is also not compatible with Android 13, the previous version that was released in August 2022.

When The Hindu tried to download the app through the link provided on website of the Telangana police, the same error message popped up. The app was last upgraded in April 2021.

“The app was not upgraded due to default in paying the developers. The issue has been going on for the past few months,” said a senior official seeking anonymity.

Additional Director General of Police (Technical Services) V.V. Srinivasa Rao agreed that there has been a delay in upgrading the app. “Amid the ongoing upgrade of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) for the integration of the latest criminal laws (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023) expected to be effective from July 1, there has been a slight delay in upgrading Hawk Eye,” said the official. 

The task of upgrading Hawk Eye has been given to the same developers who are updating the CCTNS, which is being carried out under a tight schedule, he explained and added that the app should be available for the latest Android versions shortly.

Meanwhile, the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR ) portal, launched on a pilot basis in Telangana in April 2022, is being used extensively. The State police recovered 26,833 mobile devices, 4,348 of which were from Hyderabad, over the past one year.

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