The location data, Apple said, can't be used for nonemergency purposes and will be accessible only to the 911 centre during an emergency call.
As Apple itself astutely observed, most 911 calls made these days come from mobile devices.
Apple devices provide us with the best possible location on our smartphones every day. The entire process is automatic and secure, and it's based on Apple technology that has existed for a few years now. The first is HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), a system that Apple developed and launched in 2015. To address that situation, wireless operators for more than a decade have been working to meet the FCC's E911 requirements, which are created to deliver mobile users' locations to the "public safety answering points", or PSAPs, where 911 operators work.
In 2015, Apple launched an initiative called HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), which estimates a mobile 911 caller's location by using cell towers and on-device data sources such as Global Positioning System and Wi-Fi. The Wall Street Journal reports that a forthcoming update to Apple's iOS will automatically send out your phone's location to emergency call centers when you're on the phone with 911.
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Besides upgrading to iOS 12, users won't need to do anything to use the feature.
Apple claims the data collected during the call is kept private and can not be used for any non-emergency goal. The feature can't be accessed for non-emergency calls.
Those over on Google's Android have had access to the company's Emergency Location Service (ELS) feature since the release of its Ice Cream Sandwich update back in 2012.
"This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety", former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. The new technology comes ahead of a Federal Communications Commission rule that requires phone carriers be able to locate emergency callers within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021. "This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS will be transformative for emergency response in the United States".