Apple Urged to Implement Feature That Sends an iPhone's Precise Location to Responders in Emergencies

EENA, short for the European Emergency Number Association, has called on Apple to integrate a solution called Advanced Mobile Location into iOS to improve the safety of iPhone users in emergency situations.


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

For months, EENA said it has tried to establish contact with Apple to work on a solution that automatically provides accurate location derived from iPhones to emergency services and rescuers, but with no result so far.

Advanced Mobile Location is allegedly up to 4,000 times more accurate than current emergency systems, which rely on cell tower location with a radius of up to several miles, or assisted GPS, which can fail indoors. EENA lists several real scenarios where AML's location accuracy was less than 12 meters.


Last year, Google implemented a new AML-based solution called Emergency Location Service into Google Play services that automatically works on Android smartphones running its Gingerbread operating system or newer.

AML also must be supported by carriers. EENA said the service is fully operational in several European countries, including the UK, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, and Iceland, as well as New Zealand, on all mobile networks.

In terms of privacy, Google said it never sees or handles the precise location obtained by its Emergency Location Service feature. Instead, the location is sent from the smartphone to emergency services only when a user explicitly places an emergency call, either directly or through their mobile network.

EENA said AML has saved many lives by more accurately pinpointing a person's position. Accordingly, several minutes of time can be saved, according to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute:
Ambulance Service measurements show that, on average, 30 seconds per call can be saved if a precise location is automatically provided, and several minutes can be saved where callers are unable to verbally describe their location due to stress, injury, language or simple unfamiliarity with an area.
EENA said it recognizes the efforts of Apple to improve the safety of its customers. It acknowledged the SOS functionality of the Apple Watch, which can automatically send the location of a caller to a specified contact. However, it believes the location should be sent to emergency services and rescuers as well.

Apple certainly cares about the safety of its customers. It doesn't appear to have publicly provided a reason against supporting AML.

Via: The Next Web

Top Rated Comments

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32 months ago
It seems like a good idea, especially if it will only be "activated" when the user places the emergency call.
I hope Apple implements this feature.
Rating: 10 Votes
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32 months ago
You think about this and it's really odd that Apple wouldn't implement this as part of SOS, at least as a user option.
Rating: 8 Votes
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32 months ago
"Oh, I don't know why this is needed since people calling emergency services can just tell the dispatcher their location."

Except when they can't.

People get lost in places other than urban areas, where there are no streets, etc. People can be critically injured or critically ill but still able to place a call to (or attempt to call) emergency services and then lose consciousness before they can tell the dispatcher their location. There are situations where is it not safe for someone to talk but has need of emergency services (for instance, they're hiding from someone who is trying to kill them and talking would give their location away and put them at risk of being discovered by the attacker).

This would be incredibly useful, and could be implemented properly to minimize the risk to privacy.
Rating: 5 Votes
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32 months ago

Really, go in then what 'risks' are there?

Or are you going to suggest... this is going to mean a hacker will be able to track your location because Apple will have opened a security hole in the firmware..

Or will you be worried the government will be tracking you personally 24/7. Because they have nothing better to do? Even though they can track you in a million other ways...


lol, I mean seriously... come on people. To be honest I'm blown away that this isn't already a thing. Pizza delivery guys have had your exact location for a while now yet the ambulance can only get it if you tell them, which isn't always an option or you might not actually know
Rating: 4 Votes
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32 months ago

Their are risk to this feature.


Right, but there are risks to every GPS feature on iOS, in my car. But if, say, I'm on a run at 8pm and feel something really bad coming on, I collapse, and the last thing I can pull myself to do is activate SOS. Lowering my privacy to emergency is fist to know where I am is a risk I'll take. And, in fact, this already is built into many cars which have emergency buttons.

In a lot of emergency instances the victim literally has under 5 minutes to get medical help before something catastrophic happens to them so notifying just family or a friend may only let them know they need to pick up a body at the morgue. And again, it would be something the user would have opt into along with the rest of SOS's features. It wouldn't be default on.
Rating: 4 Votes
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32 months ago

Their are risk to this feature.


Really, go in then what 'risks' are there?

Or are you going to suggest... this is going to mean a hacker will be able to track your location because Apple will have opened a security hole in the firmware..

Or will you be worried the government will be tracking you personally 24/7. Because they have nothing better to do? Even though they can track you in a million other ways...
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
32 months ago

Really, go in then what 'risks' are there?

Or are you going to suggest... this is going to mean a hacker will be able to track your location because Apple will have opened a security hole in the firmware..

Or will you be worried the government will be tracking you personally 24/7. Because they have nothing better to do? Even though they can track you in a million other ways...


Having nothing to hide is such a specious argument for not being concerned about privacy.
Rating: 3 Votes
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32 months ago
This whole thing is pretty much redundant in the United States. We have had Enhanced 911 for years now. Phase II of E911 already sends GPS data when you call 911 to an agency that has the upgraded E911 equipment in their dispatch centers.

For example, here is the Verizon Wireless disclosure page on E911.

http://www.verizon.com/about/consumer-safety/enhanced-911
Rating: 3 Votes
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32 months ago
I think this is a fantastic idea. Have the phone send its exact location when the user places a 911 call or maybe have a button that you press to send it. At every other time our privacy remains the exact same as it is now, but when you need help, it's there.
Rating: 2 Votes
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32 months ago

Phase II of E911 already sends GPS data when you call 911 to an agency that has the upgraded E911 equipment in their dispatch centers.


This is true. However, there is a caveat based on my experiences. If someone calls from a deactivated cell phone (Which surprisingly happens a lot), the GPS coordinates are not specific and provides the dispatcher a general area of where the call originated from. It's frustrating for Officers seeking the extent of the call and where it is.
Rating: 2 Votes
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