Notably, Apple says that user data provided by RapidSOS may exclusively be used for emergency purposes, and only the responding 911 center will have access to the user's location during the emergency call. The company has also partnered with a company called RapidSOS, which will securely transmit the data to 911 centers. Now, though, more than 80% of 911 calls are made on cell phones in many parts of the country, according to the National Emergency Number Association.
Apple already implements a feature called Hybridized Emergency Location, or HELO, that tries to estimate an iPhone caller's location for emergency services using radios.
The move is meant to address the problems with dialing emergency services from a cell phone, where outdated infrastructure has made it hard to obtain a mobile caller's location quickly and accurately, Apple says.
The iOS 12 feature is aimed at providing faster and more accurate information to first-responders and cutting emergency response times. RapidSOS will automatically pass along iPhone location data using an industry-standard protocol that integrates with many 911 centers' existing software. "This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS will be transformative for emergency response in the United States". "User data can not be used for any non-emergency objective and only the responding 911 center will have access to the user's location during an emergency call", the company said.
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Tom Wheeler, former FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017, said: "Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS".
By embracing this tech and making it a standard feature, Apple is actually complying with an FCC rule expected to come into force in 2021.
The company wants first responders to get to emergencies more quickly.