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10/08/2017

Apple should integrate AML in iPhone for the safety of their customers

An open call from EENA.


Apple should integrate AML in iPhone for the safety of their customers
In June 2016, Google updated all Android smartphones in the world with Advanced Mobile Location (AML), a technology that allows emergency services to accurately locate a caller in danger. Fast forward a year later, the service has been activated in many countries with many lives saved as a result (see here).
 
In the past months, EENA has been travelling around Europe to raise awareness of AML in as many countries as possible. All these meetings brought up a recurring question that EENA had to reply to: “So, what about Apple?”. For months, EENA 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. Unfortunately, with no result.
 
Emergency services themselves, as well as other stakeholders, are publicly stressing the need for Apple to work on AML. This is the case in Australia, Estonia, Sweden, and Belgium. Belgium announced the launch of AML for Android users on 13 July but indicated that iPhone users should download the “112BE” smartphone app since the service is not available to Apple customers.
 
Politicians have also stressed the need for AML to be available in all handsets. In an interview with EENA after her visit to the 112 Emergency Response Centre in Tallinn, Member of the European Parliament Kaja Kallas noted that “Currently, AML only works on Android devices. To increase the number of people who can benefit from it, we should make sure that it works on all smartphones.”.
 
EENA recognises the efforts of Apple to improve the safety of their customers. The SOS functionality of the Apple Watch can automatically send the location of a caller to a specified contact. Nevertheless, this functionality should be extended to mobile phones, and the location should be sent to emergency services and rescuers as well – the people who primarily need this information. Recent news about the “panic command” on iPhones, including a location function, is also a step in the right direction. But it is not sufficient: accurate location information should be sent during all emergency calls.
 
As AML is being deployed in more and more countries, iPhone users are put in a disadvantage compared to Android users in the scenario that matters most: an emergency.
 
EENA calls on Apple to integrate Advanced Mobile Location in their smartphones for the safety of their customers. It is important to highlight once again that AML is an open-source protocol (see ETSI technical report here) and any smartphone manufacturer or operating system provider can integrate it in their products.
 
EENA remains at the disposal of Apple to work together on a solution that will concretely improve the safety of its customers.
 
Useful links:
  • About AML: here
  • AML Frequently Asked Questions: here
  • ETSI technical report on AML: here
  • Cases of people saved thanks to AML: here

 


 

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a Brussels-based NGO set up in 1999 dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU. EENA serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, decision makers, researchers, associations and solution providers with a view to improving the emergency response in accordance with citizens' requirements. EENA is also promoting the establishment of an efficient system for alerting citizens about imminent or developing emergencies.

The EENA memberships include more than 1300 emergency services representatives from over 80 countries world-wide, 80 solution providers, 15 international associations/organisations, more than 200 Members of the European Parliament and over 90 researchers.