IPhone users will soon be able to share location with 911

IPhone users will soon be able to share location with 911

Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century.

In iOS 12, when you make an emergency 911 call, your iPhone will automatically share the location of your device with emergency responders.

'When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance'.

The FCC has mandated that mobile phone carriers locate callers within 50 meters 80% of the time by 2021.

The location services at 911 call centers are based on outdated infrastructure from the era of landlines. He said that not all callers in an emergency situation are able to articulate their location due to medical distress or being in a situation where speaking could put them in danger.

That can take up precious time and often isn't very accurate, especially when calls come from inside a building.

Building on its currently-used location technology, Apple says that it will start to use RapidSOS's Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) data with 911 centers. That clearinghouse collects location data above and beyond the FCC's E911 guidelines and then provides that data to PSAPs for free in a data format that they can use.

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The case which could have important implications for Apple and its mobile ecosystem hinges on whether the iPhone maker has a right to have a "closed" system where only the company can distribute mobile apps.

But the type of location data that can be sent to 911 operators through the technology developed by Apple and RapidSOS can be much more accurate than the type of location data sent by wireless operators like AT&T and Verizon, per the FCC's E911 guidelines.

Apple stressed that the data could only be used for emergency purposes and the 911 center's access to user locations will be restricted to the duration of 911 calls.

In the near future, when you call for emergency services in the US, Apple will automatically share your location with dispatchers.

Apple isn't alone: Google is experimenting with similar software.

Apple expects calling centers for large metropolitan areas to upgrade more quickly than those in rural areas.

Two former FCC heads -Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017, and Dennis Patrick, FCC Chairman from 1987 to 1989- have applauded Apple's move.