Apple Sets Up iPhones to Relay Location for 911 Calls - NBC Connecticut
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Apple Sets Up iPhones to Relay Location for 911 Calls

An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the U.S. this year will come from mobile phones

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Seven Hot Denim Looks For Back To School
    AP
    FILE - In this March 15, 2018, file photo, a supervisor shows one of the maps used by dispatchers at a 911 call center in Roswell, Ga. Apple is trying drag the U.S.’s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century. If it lives up to Apple’s promise, the iPhone’s next operating system will automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information pinpointing the location of 911 calls to about 6,300 emergency response centers in the U.S. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

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

    If it lives up to Apple's promise, the iPhone's next operating system will automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information pinpointing the location of 911 calls to about 6,300 emergency response centers in the U.S.

    Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today's increasingly sophisticated smartphones.

    An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the U.S. this year will come from mobile phones, most of which are capable of precisely tracking where their users are.

    Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty

    [NATL] Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty

    Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, plead guilty to tax fraud charges as well as campaign finance charges stemming from hush money related to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018)

    Emergency calling centers, however, don't get that detailed location information from mobile 911 calls. Instead, they get the location of the cellular tower transmitting the call, and must rely on other methods to figure out where the caller is.

    That can take up precious time and often isn't very accurate, especially when calls come from inside a building. Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location.

    Apple's upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a New York startup. The approach developed by Apple and RapidSOS sends location data from an iPhone to a "clearinghouse" accessible to emergency calling centers. Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple.

    Individual call centers will each have to embrace the technology required to communicate with the RapidSOS clearinghouse. Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software.

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

    Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple's new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard. "This is going to save a lot of lives," said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University. He said he hopes other phone makers will follow Apple's lead.

    Colorado Man Charged With Five Counts of Murder in Deaths of Wife and Daughters

    [NATL] Colorado Man Charged With Five Counts of Murder in Deaths of Wife and Daughters

    Christopher Lee Watts was charged with five counts of murder Monday for the deaths of his wife Shanann Watts and their two daughters Bella and Celeste. Watts had initially pleaded publicly that his wife and daughters had gone missing. Their bodies were discovered on the property of the oil and natural gas company Watts worked for. The D.A. said that it's "too early" to discuss whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 20, 2018)

    The planned changes were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee during a 911 convention. They'll be part of iOS 12, the next version of Apple's iPhone software, which the company will release in September as a free update.