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iOS 12 to Give 911 Precise iPhone Location During Emergencies

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Jun 18, 2018, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Apple today said iPhones will soon provide 911 emergency services with more exact locations of callers. Since 2015, Apple has relied on HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), which uses cellular, GPS, and wifi access points to estimate 911 callers' locations. This system is not always perfect. Starting with the release of iOS 12 in the fall, Apple will use RapidSOS's internet protocol-based pipeline to share HELO location data with 911 centers quickly and securely. Apple says this new system will integrate with 911 centers' existing software to more finely pinpoint location. Importantly, Apple says user location data cannot be used for non-emergency purposes and 911 centers will only have access to location during 911 emergency calls. By law, wireless network operators are required to locate callers within 50 meters 80% of the time, but not until 2021. Apple says its new feature exceeds this requirement today. "This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety,” said Tom Wheeler, former chairman at the FCC. "Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS." iOS 12 is expected to reach iPhones and iPads in September or October.

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