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Apple today announced that, starting later this year with iOS 12, iPhones will automatically share precise location data with first responders during 911 calls in the United States, helping to reduce emergency response times.

emergency-iphone-800x593.jpg

The new functionality will be powered by RapidSOS's IP-based data pipeline, which will quickly and securely provide 911 call centers with Hybridized Emergency Location data, which is determined based on proximity to cell towers and Wi-Fi access points, and on-device data sources like assisted GPS.

Apple said the location data will only be used for emergency purposes, and only accessible to responding dispatch centers during 911 calls.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a prepared statement. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance."

The current 911 system, developed by AT&T in the 1960s, was intended for landline phones, which have fixed addresses. Apple notes that approximately 80 percent of 911 calls today come from mobile devices, however, and most dispatching systems can only obtain their estimated location based on cell towers.

RapidSOS's system, which will be integrated with existing software at 911 centers, should help solve this problem. The modern technology is part of a broader initiative known as Next Generation 911.

"911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection," said RapidSOS CEO Michael Martin. "We are excited to work with Apple to provide first responders a new path for accurate, device-based caller location using transformative Next Generation 911 technology."

As many as 10,000 lives could be saved each year if 911 emergency dispatchers were able to get to callers just one minute faster, according to the FCC. Whether someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, or a house is on a fire, it is obviously critical for first responders to arrive as quickly as possible.

"This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety," said former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS."

The feature is somewhat similar to Advanced Mobile Location, implemented in iOS 11.3 in a handful of European countries.

Advanced Mobile Location recognizes when an emergency call is made and, if not already activated, activates an iPhone's GPS or Wi-Fi to collect the caller's precise location information. The device then sends an automatic SMS to the emergency services with the caller's location, before turning the GPS off again.

Advanced Mobile Location must be supported by carriers. As of earlier this year, the service was fully operational in many European countries, including the United Kingdom, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, and Iceland, as well as New Zealand.

Apple says the RapidSOS functionality will be limited to the iPhone for now, ruling out the Apple Watch and other devices at launch.

Apple's announcement coincides with the annual NENA Conference & Expo in Nashville this week, focused on the future of the 911 system.

"It can be hard in an emergency to know exactly where you are, and if you're not on a landline, our first responders can't always help. This upgrade will save lives by giving our 911 dispatchers, police, firefighters and paramedics the thing they need the most: time," said Nashville Mayor David Briley.

Article Link: iPhones on iOS 12 Will Automatically Share Precise Location Data During 911 Calls in United States
 

rjtyork

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2009
186
299
It’s fascinating to me watching tech evolve to save more and more lives. I work for Vivint and one of my customers told me about a fire they had and their SmartHome turned off the AC, unlocked the doors, and sent the fire department all in under 1 minute while she gathered her family and pets and got out of the house. Just as she pulled out her cellphone to finally call the fire department herself, they were turning down her street and they put the fire out and saved most of the house. Turning off the AC helped smother the fire, unlocking the front door shaved a few valuable seconds off their escape, and having the fire department there a whole 4 minutes earlier saved some very valuable family photos and scrapbooks that she wasn’t able to go back in to get. This world and the human race is amazing. I’m excited to see what else technology is going to do for us
 
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BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
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Yeah, we have that in the UK now, but called AML, as the article stated.

I think Google were involved in developing it.
 
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Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
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UK
What’s stopping law enforcement ringing a phone so it sends location?

You know those investigation departments.

not that it bothers me (I don’t answer withheld numbers or ones I don’t know) but it’s something that sprang to mind.
 
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antonis

macrumors 68020
Jun 10, 2011
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And the user will be able to turn this off, if desired. Is this correct, dear apple ?
 
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bbzzz

macrumors member
Mar 7, 2008
42
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Apple best fix the broken wifi on/off switching in control centre then.

I keep it turned off most of the time in settings since they broke control centre. I don't mind leaving it on it's just that it's plain broken - keeps turning itself back on every day, and when location changes which is very annoying on the daily train commute, breaking connectivity. I usually find it attaching to non working wifi's (had to turn off ask to join networks as it was forever popping up) or ones it noticed we just passed by. Then there are apps keep prompting to turn it back on for location accuracy. A very poor user experience.

Solution is simple, make control centre off mean do not try and use wifi for connectivity, I'm fine with it listening to help location accuracy. Then I might leave it on in settings.

I notice messages checks it can connect to iCloud to decide if it should use SMS instead. They could do something similar to decide if the wifi is working enough to use instead of sitting there with no data moving.
 
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Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
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UK
Apple best fix the broken wifi on/off switching in control centre then.

I keep it turned off most of the time in settings since they broke control centre. I don't mind leaving it on it's just that it's plain broken - keeps turning itself back on every day, and when location changes which is very annoying on the daily train commute, breaking connectivity. I usually find it attaching to non working wifi's (had to turn off ask to join networks as it was forever popping up) or ones it noticed we just passed by. Then there are apps keep prompting to turn it back on for location accuracy. A very poor user experience.

Solution is simple, make control centre off mean do not try and use wifi for connectivity, I'm fine with it listening to help location accuracy. Then I might leave it on in settings.

I notice messages checks it can connect to iCloud to decide if it should use SMS instead. They could do something similar to decide if the wifi is working enough to use instead of sitting there with no data moving.

On your mac in settingns/WiFi you can see a list of all the networks and delete them from there.
 
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justperry

macrumors G5
Aug 10, 2007
12,021
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I'm a rolling stone.
What’s stopping law enforcement ringing a phone so it sends location?

You know those investigation departments.

not that it bothers me (I don’t answer withheld numbers or ones I don’t know) but it’s something that sprang to mind.

Don't think it will work that way, it works by calling the emergency number, not the other way around.

This quote is about privacy on AML:

Are there any privacy risks?

No. The technology is dormant on the smartphone and the location sources (either GPS or Wi-Fi) is only activated when the emergency call is made. It is turned off directly afterwards and therefore is not active during normal times. Android do not store any location data and simply pass it through the mobile network operator to the PSAP.


How long till people complain of this great feature? I mean Americans seem to be a bit paranoid about sharing their locations?

Great feature, well done Apple.

You were about 15 minutes too late.:p
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
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Cellular providers have requirements around supporting E911 with phase II rule requirements by 2019. But, just because the carriers are required to provide enhanced services (location data) doesn't mean that the 911 answering facilities can do anything with it. Many of the call centers haven't been upgraded to receive the information.

You may be calling from a device and network that can send the location data, but the call center answering the call may be unable to receive the data.
[doublepost=1529322664][/doublepost]
And the user will be able to turn this off, if desired. Is this correct, dear apple ?

This is partially a function of the cellular provider you use. There are government requirements around it (read up on E911 if you like). Because of this, it wouldn't matter much even if Apple had an option to turn this off as the cellular towers you're connected to basically attempt to triangulate your location and broadcast it to the 911 operator. You have no choice in that piece as part of federal FCC requirements.
 
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NightFox

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May 10, 2005
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Shropshire, UK
Yeah, we have that in the UK now, but called AML, as the article stated.

I think Google were involved in developing it.

I wonder how well this actually works? Considering when I use 2-factor authentication to sign in to my Apple ID on my iPhone, my devices tell me an iPhone in London is trying to log in to my Apple account when I'm actually about 200 miles from London.
[doublepost=1529323731][/doublepost]
What’s stopping law enforcement ringing a phone so it sends location?

You know those investigation departments.

not that it bothers me (I don’t answer withheld numbers or ones I don’t know) but it’s something that sprang to mind.

How would that work? If I understand this correctly, the system only pushes the geodata from the phone when the phone is used to make a 911 call.
 
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asiga

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
938
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And the user will be able to turn this off, if desired. Is this correct, dear apple ?
It depends. If the call can save health budget costs, then turning it off won't be an option. But if the call is trying to help fighting crime, then I'm guessing they not only will let you disable the feature, but they even will try to convince you not making the call at all. Oh, and no, dear iGadget fans, it's not about your health, nor about your lives: it's about your data (read data=money) which Apple wants from you for their Macless business to continue.
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68030
May 10, 2005
2,647
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Shropshire, UK
How long till people complain of this great feature? I mean Americans seem to be a bit paranoid about sharing their locations?.

Agree, it always seems odd how the people who get so worried about overt systems like this are still perfectly happy carrying around a software-controlled camera, microphone and tracking system in their pocket all day.
 
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Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
3,558
1,104
UK
I wonder how well this actually works? Considering when I use 2-factor authentication to sign in to my Apple ID on my iPhone, my devices tell me an iPhone in London is trying to log in to my Apple account when I'm actually about 200 miles from London.
[doublepost=1529323731][/doublepost]

Sounds like it’s using your internet providers thingy midge’iggy, their hub place or what ever you call it. As you can see the name escapes me at this time.

How would that work? If I understand this correctly, the system only pushes the geodata from the phone when the phone is used to make a 911 call.

Well you know. One of those back door features that means a 911 or 999 call operator phoning a person who hung up or got cut off. That way.
 
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guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
3,356
1,341
Wherever my feet take me…
In some ways, I'm surprised that it took this look to implement this. In other ways, I'm not surprised at all. Creating the technologies takes a bunch of money, time and other resources. Getting people & companies to actually use & implement them takes even more.
 
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Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
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So I guess when people want to report a crime and remain anonymous they won’t be able too. So they’ll report less crimes and then the governments can publish nice reports showing how crimes have gone down.
 
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