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MacRumors
Dec 12, 2012, 10:44 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/12/fcc-proposal-would-require-apple-to-support-imessage-to-911/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/12/NewImage16.pngThe Federal Communications Commission today announced a proposal (http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-proposes-action-accelerate-nationwide-text-911) that would extend a previous agreement requiring wireless carriers to allow their users to send SMS messages to 911 call centers. The proposal would extend the requirement from simple SMS texting to "over-the-top" messaging services like Apple's iMessage.

The four major American carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, have already agreed to make the SMS-to-911 feature nationwide by May 15, 2014.

By adding support for "over-the-top" messaging services, the FCC believes it can help keep pace with how people use their phones as users turn more to text messages rather than phone calls. Additionally, the text-to-911 feature could assist deaf users, as well as those in home invasion or other situations where making a voice call could be dangerous.
Today's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking anticipates that all wireless carriers, as well as providers of "over the top" text messaging that use IP-based or SMS protocols to deliver text messages to destinations identified by a telephone number, will be required to deploy text-to-911 and to provide "bounce back" messages where text-to-911 is not yet available. While more than 90 percent of smartphone users currently use SMS as their form of text messaging, we are taking forward-looking action given the growth of Internet-based text messaging. The Further Notice also tees up for resolution key issues including standards deployment and service deployment, location accuracy, cost recovery, carrier liability.iMessage allows people to link their phone numbers with the service and it could be used to text 911 call centers, instead of using SMS messaging as a fallback. If 911 call centers don't support text-to-911 in a particular area, users would receive "bounce back" messages to advise them to call 911 via the traditional message.

As of now, this is just a proposal (http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-proposes-action-accelerate-nationwide-text-911), not an official action, and that there is no set timetable from the FCC.

Article Link: FCC Proposal Would Require Apple to Support iMessage-to-911 (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/12/fcc-proposal-would-require-apple-to-support-imessage-to-911/)



Schmitty11
Dec 12, 2012, 10:49 PM
Lets the complaints begin....

wordoflife
Dec 12, 2012, 10:49 PM
This is a pretty good idea. I mean, after all, iMessage isn't an opt-in feature. I think it's automatically enabled by default.

The only interesting part if this will only be for iPhones ... or all iMessage devices

wikus
Dec 12, 2012, 10:50 PM
Lets the complaints begin....

Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Schmitty11
Dec 12, 2012, 10:53 PM
Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Oh, i think it's great, but this is macrumors. Someone is always unhappy about every story.

Blakjack
Dec 12, 2012, 10:58 PM
I'm game

KdParker
Dec 12, 2012, 11:06 PM
This is a pretty good idea. I mean, after all, iMessage isn't an opt-in feature. I think it's automatically enabled by default.

The only interesting part if this will only be for iPhones ... or all iMessage devices

True. But this does seem to be an good idea.

Not sure what it would mean technically for apple.

gmanist1000
Dec 12, 2012, 11:33 PM
Hmm I wonde how they could implement this? Since it's only iOS to iOS or iOS to Mac. Guess they could add emergency services :P

beingTommy
Dec 12, 2012, 11:50 PM
Am I missing something? An iMessage is an iMessage because it's between ios devices...

shurcooL
Dec 12, 2012, 11:50 PM
Why would ANYONE complain about this?
If you're a criminal, you would be unhappy that people have more ways to reach 911.

BiigBiscuit
Dec 12, 2012, 11:59 PM
True. But this does seem to be an good idea.

Not sure what it would mean technically for apple.

Probably nothing. Until iMessage goes down and someone that wasn't able to contact 911 via text gets hurt. I wouldn't be surprised if there'd be some sort of an uproar because of that.

xionxiox
Dec 13, 2012, 12:14 AM
Probably nothing. Until iMessage goes down and someone that wasn't able to contact 911 via text gets hurt. I wouldn't be surprised if there'd be some sort of an uproar because of that.

or they could call them like a normal person...

Dainin
Dec 13, 2012, 12:28 AM
If there isn't an iMessage target it just sends a text message anyway. While I think it is great someone is actually forward thinking, I think in the case of iMessage it doesn't really make sense.

nagromme
Dec 13, 2012, 01:44 AM
leg cut off LOL ;D

other leg now!!! ROFL

C U soon?

mrsir2009
Dec 13, 2012, 02:20 AM
Am I missing something? An iMessage is an iMessage because it's between ios devices...

iPads in the call centres :cool:

iPadPublisher
Dec 13, 2012, 04:08 AM
If there isn't an iMessage target it just sends a text message anyway. While I think it is great someone is actually forward thinking, I think in the case of iMessage it doesn't really make sense.

You're right about that, but perhaps this requirement would prompt Apple to detect its a 9-1-1 txt and skip looking for an iMessage contact and send it straight along?

I know a few times I've iMessaged someone who's lost connectivity, it can be 30-90 seconds before the phone "figures it out" and routes as SMS. As the first responders always point out, seconds count, so it's a small step but helpful.

Somehow I get the feeling though that as carriers implement txt to 9-1-1, Apple would be right there anyhow. No reason not to.

cg0def
Dec 13, 2012, 04:40 AM
wait this should be dead simple to implement. All you need is to link and iMessage device to whatever system 911 uses. In fact this is so simple that it could easily be turned in to a Google summer of code project! How about that novel ideal 911?

djgamble
Dec 13, 2012, 04:48 AM
Remembering 911 only works in the USA... random thoughts:
- Would this start working overseas where 911 isn't the emergency number?
- Even if a slight hack is needed, wouldn't this open up 911 to masses of spam from pretty well anywhere around the globe? Meh they might be able to make it only work in the USA.
- It could be quite useful... phone network's down but the internet isn't. Potential life saver!!! BUT how would it work in international waters...etc? The technical side of things would be quite interesting!

sorinc03
Dec 13, 2012, 04:59 AM
It'll be amazing when it's released. Why in the world would anyone text 911?

"Omg I'm being killed. Pls help me. :( AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Smigit
Dec 13, 2012, 07:08 AM
Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Not a complaint per-se, but SMS isn't exactly the best way to get a distress signal out there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Message_Service#Unreliability). That coupled with some past iMessage service issues could pose a problem. I realise people drop calls and the like, but at least you know immediately as opposed to a text message which just zips off into the void.

Not so much a concern with having iMessage support specifically, but using text messages in general for 911 calls.

Intarweb
Dec 13, 2012, 08:23 AM
Not a complaint per-se, but SMS isn't exactly the best way to get a distress signal out there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Message_Service#Unreliability). That coupled with some past iMessage service issues could pose a problem. I realise people drop calls and the like, but at least you know immediately as opposed to a text message which just zips off into the void.

Not so much a concern with having iMessage support specifically, but using text messages in general for 911 calls.

It's not a replacement for calls. It's an alternative.

Black.Infinity
Dec 13, 2012, 08:26 AM
911 should be accessible by all means of communication.

Apple Key
Dec 13, 2012, 08:59 AM
Why would this be better than just sending it as an SMS message?

----------

911 should be accessible by all means of communication.

So, I should be able to email 911, or send them a letter in the mail? Kind of defeats the purpose. What about morse code?

JtheLemur
Dec 13, 2012, 09:07 AM
[ halp i r bein murdered send crops asap omg ]

[ *cops ]

[ 911: got ur msg cops otw ]

[ 911: hey running a lil late theyll c u soon tho ]

Codyak
Dec 13, 2012, 09:38 AM
It'll be amazing when it's released. Why in the world would anyone text 911?

"Omg I'm being killed. Pls help me. :( AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

It's the frown face that will let them know you're serious.

RedTomato
Dec 13, 2012, 09:48 AM
As a deaf person I've used the uk's equivalent 'text 911' service - EmergencySMS - several times.

Works really well. If there's enough interest I might put up an anonymised transcript of one of my texted emergency calls.

Note in the UK you have to pre-register (a very easy process which is done via text message :)) to be able to send texts to 999 (our 911). I think it's cos of capacity - only enough for deafies, who actually need this service, - not enough to deal with stupid drunk hearies firing off texts to 999.

HMI
Dec 13, 2012, 10:08 AM
You're right about that, but perhaps this requirement would prompt Apple to detect its a 9-1-1 txt and skip looking for an iMessage contact and send it straight along?

I know a few times I've iMessaged someone who's lost connectivity, it can be 30-90 seconds before the phone "figures it out" and routes as SMS. As the first responders always point out, seconds count, so it's a small step but helpful.

Somehow I get the feeling though that as carriers implement txt to 9-1-1, Apple would be right there anyhow. No reason not to.

I'm wondering if it would automatically send a users Apple ID, "me" contact card info, and as much location info as possible (whether GPS or "wifi assisted GPS"), so emergency response can identify who (theoretically) is contacting them and where the emergency might be. I'm sure this would all happen on a device level and be passed along as quickly and directly as possible.

If this comes to an iPod touch, it would be one more viable reason for some to choose an iPod touch over an iPhone.

NAG
Dec 13, 2012, 10:10 AM
911 should be accessible by all means of communication.

Will be a sad day when Xbox voice chat has 911 access.

That being said, don't see why anyone would need iMessage access to 911 when you have SMS access (unless they want you to be able to chat with 911 from your Mac or iPad).

My main question is, how are they supposed to route you to the right 911 call center? They'd have to have your device geo-locate you and send that info to the iMessage server (which would potentially break the iOS security model if it does it without asking permission). Trying to figure out where the person is by IP would not be accurate enough.

Frankly, I think Facetime to 911 would be more useful so the operator could see what is going on and maybe help.

John.B
Dec 13, 2012, 10:25 AM
Not a complaint per-se, but SMS isn't exactly the best way to get a distress signal out there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Message_Service#Unreliability). That coupled with some past iMessage service issues could pose a problem. I realise people drop calls and the like, but at least you know immediately as opposed to a text message which just zips off into the void.

Not so much a concern with having iMessage support specifically, but using text messages in general for 911 calls.

Agree.

Text messages -- even text messages to 911 -- are merely a notification; until you get a confirmation from the receiving party, you can't assume any actual communication took place.

Also, this assumes that the text message service availability is guaranteed, which I'd bet flies in the face of the TOS for most (if not all) text message providers.

madsci954
Dec 13, 2012, 10:40 AM
So, I should be able to email 911, or send them a letter in the mail? Kind of defeats the purpose. What about morse code?

Morse code? Pssst, everyone knows smoke signals are the way to go.

Dr McKay
Dec 13, 2012, 10:56 AM
Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Because someone would see the title saying "would require Apple to.." And start in a huge rage along the lines of

"HOW DARE SOMEBODY TELL APPLE WHAT TO DO!! APPLE SHOULD JUST BUY FCC!"

wikus
Dec 13, 2012, 11:03 AM
Because someone would see the title saying "would require Apple to.." And start in a huge rage along the lines of

"HOW DARE SOMEBODY TELL APPLE WHAT TO DO!! APPLE SHOULD JUST BUY FCC!"

LOL! Has anyone said that in this thread? I wouldnt be surprised if there was more than one person making the comment...

NAG
Dec 13, 2012, 11:12 AM
LOL! Has anyone said that in this thread? I wouldnt be surprised if there was more than one person making the comment...

Worst I've seen is comments like "they should make it Facetime instead" which actually makes sense.

Dr McKay
Dec 13, 2012, 11:19 AM
LOL! Has anyone said that in this thread? I wouldnt be surprised if there was more than one person making the comment...

Do you remember the uproar about Micro-USB for iPhone in European countries? Apple themselves offered to conform to these guidelines and the thread was full of hatred and comments such as

"How dare the EU tell Apple what to do! Apple should stop selling products in Europe!"

And this was Apple offering to conform to a set of suggested guidelines.

kdarling
Dec 13, 2012, 11:39 AM
It'll be amazing when it's released. Why in the world would anyone text 911?

Lots of reasons.

Imagine that you or a kid is hiding in a closet or under the bed while criminals are in the house. The last thing you want is to talk and give away your hiding place.

Or maybe you're choking and can't get enough breath to talk.

I'm sure you can think of other situations.

As for reliability, perhaps a 911 app can turn on SMS receipts, which every carrier should support. Or if u don't get an autoanswer right away, send again.

Plutonius
Dec 13, 2012, 12:01 PM
Will be a sad day when Xbox voice chat has 911 access.

You can use it when someone is cheating. Similar to "The Big Bang Theory" where Sheldon calls the police to report a robbery when his World of Warcraft account is hacked :D.

Glassed Silver
Dec 13, 2012, 12:05 PM
iPods or iPhones being able to set off an alarm?
Sounds perfect!

However, this is a slippery slope.
iMessage works great almost all of the time, but SMS seems more robust.

I think regardless of SMS OR iMessage there should ALWAYS be a reply that confirms the delivery of the message, too.
Otherwise it goes like a) emergency b) set off alarm c) alarm never arrived d) death/permanent injury/unwanted kids/gozilla/21st December/...

Glassed Silver:mac

tbrinkma
Dec 13, 2012, 12:32 PM
Probably nothing. Until iMessage goes down and someone that wasn't able to contact 911 via text gets hurt. I wouldn't be surprised if there'd be some sort of an uproar because of that.

You do know that when something happens that it can't deliver the message through the iMessage servers, it falls back to the standard SMS/MMS services, right? That's how you can still text people you know who don't have iPhones.

John.B
Dec 13, 2012, 01:19 PM
Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Because it seems simple on its face, but the devil is in the details?

Smigit
Dec 14, 2012, 01:53 AM
It's not a replacement for calls. It's an alternative.

I understand that. The point was that if you give people the option, they will use it, many over making a call when they could. With a call you know immediately if the communication has failed, an SMS on the other hand could be in transit for an unknown time (as per the article I mentioned), and even if it gets to the end point you still don't know if its being actioned. Emergency service staff aren't unknown to slip up.

It'll be useful in some cases, but the risk is that someone will send an SMS and immediately assume they have done all they can. There will be cases where people will use the less reliable service despite being fully capable of making a phone call. I saw not long ago someone on the news had used a phone to post a distress message on Facebook instead of calling emergency services, which is kind of sad.

ilovemyibook
Dec 14, 2012, 01:13 PM
Idiot: Omfg. We r getting robed!?!
Dispatcher: Where is the emergency? How many people are there? Any weapons? Is anyone hurt? What are the suspects wearing?

Victim (several minutes later): idk just send help


This will never work. I used to be a dispatcher and we have to ask a million questions, and I would sure hate to be responsible for trying to read text messages from people. Also, it's our responsibility to make sure the officer is safe, and we can't do that if we don't have a lot of details. I wouldn't send and officer to a robbery if I didn't have suspect/victim descriptions, weapons used, etc.

krravi
Dec 14, 2012, 10:42 PM
Why would this be better than just sending it as an SMS message?

----------



So, I should be able to email 911, or send them a letter in the mail? Kind of defeats the purpose. What about morse code?

Imagine locked up and handcuffed and gagged for ransom. Morse code is the only way.