FCC Proposal Would Require Apple to Support iMessage-to-911

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Federal Communications Commission today announced a proposal 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.
    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, 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
  2. Schmitty11 macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2011
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    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
  4. wikus macrumors 68000


    Jun 1, 2011
    Planet earth.
    Why would ANYONE complain about this?
  5. Schmitty11 macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2011
    Oh, i think it's great, but this is macrumors. Someone is always unhappy about every story.
  6. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    True. But this does seem to be an good idea.

    Not sure what it would mean technically for apple.
  7. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    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
  8. beingTommy macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2012
    Am I missing something? An iMessage is an iMessage because it's between ios devices...
  9. shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    If you're a criminal, you would be unhappy that people have more ways to reach 911.
  10. BiigBiscuit macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2011
    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.
  11. xionxiox macrumors regular


    Jul 20, 2010
    or they could call them like a normal person...
  12. Dainin macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2009
    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.
  13. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    leg cut off LOL ;D

    other leg now!!! ROFL

    C U soon?
  14. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    iPads in the call centres :cool:
  15. iPadPublisher macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    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.
  16. cg0def macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2009
    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?
  17. djgamble macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2006
    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!
  18. sorinc03 macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2009
    This will be so fun

    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"
  19. Smigit, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012

    Smigit macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2011
    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.
  20. Intarweb macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    It's not a replacement for calls. It's an alternative.
  21. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2010
    Apple tree-Toronto
    911 should be accessible by all means of communication.
  22. Apple Key macrumors 6502a

    Apple Key

    Jan 4, 2012
    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?
  23. JtheLemur macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2002
    [ 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 ]
  24. Codyak macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2012
    It's the frown face that will let them know you're serious.

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