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back to article Let police track you through your mobe - it's for your OWN GOOD

Two thirds of emergency calls are made from mobile phones, many of them from people who don't know where they are, and Ofcom wants to know if we should be tracking their locations. When a call is made to 999 (or 112, or 911, depending on your neck of the woods) the communication provider is required to provide the caller's …

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Sensible approach

Ask the question and allow people to weigh up the options.

I, personally, would welcome that or something similar. I travel to strange places, don't really care if the services can track my movements should they ever find a perverse need to, and as a citizen think getting more value from services we fund seems a bit of a winner.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

Today, tracking for 999 calls,

Tomorrow legislation introduced for compulsory phone tracking... Even better than an identity card.

Ok so it's obvious that they do this already, under the table, off the books but it's only used to 'keep us safe'

Or is it?

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

@ LarsG

This is my concern too. It is a fantastic idea that we could call emergency services and they set off to us before we try to explain where we think we might be (or the last landmark we passed). However it is the ridiculous lack of trust we have in our gov's who continuously try to remove our trust in them.

The last gov were toying with the idea of tracking its populations every move so they could steal more money from us. There is a distinct lack of trust in this gov by a lot of people. Do we want gov's we dont like prying into our every movement?

Such overreach is not difficult for a public sector who abused anti terrorism laws to hunt people with dogs. Overreach is too easy and too much the norm.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

Please take off the tin foil hats guys.

Should I find myself in the middle of nowhere and in need of the emergency services I would want them to know my exact location so that they could find me.

As was said this already happens with home emergency calls, so why not make it mandatory on mobiles?

I'm all for protecting privacy, and against the mantra 'If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear', but I fail to see the Mr Burns like 'Excellent' moment for the spooks here to makes mobiles do the same as fixed phones already do.

This is not the same as the government collecting information on all of your phone calls, who to and at what time to see if you are a bad person...

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

So you want your location sent when you make a 999 call, in case you don't know it and are outside in the middle of nowhere.

"I'm all for protecting privacy,"

Good, so what protections are you proposing for when your NOT making a 999 call?

Or *don't* want the location sent?

Or are just wandering around and thus free to associate with people without being tracked?

Or are a whistleblower revealing law breaking by a military agency on a power grab?

Or just bob, who doesn't think his pub crawl is any of the governments business?

I don't quite get why you have a smartphone and can pull up a map, but don't know here you are?? Or can't tell them your gps location. Or can't simply install one of the apps that sends your location. But I'll play along.

"This is not the same as the government collecting information on all of your phone calls, who to and at what time to see if you are a bad person..."

Well there's the elephant in the room. NSA & GCHQ collect metadata, it includes tower and signal strength (i.e. location to about 60 metres). Yet its not legal, Snoopers Charter was not passed. So *laws* alone won't protect that data.

So what *technical* measures do you propose to protect that 999 location, data?

And what crimes do you propose if they defeat those technical measures?

I still don't get it, why can't you just use one of the many GPS apps that sends your location? They also interpolate from the tower data too you know? They even interpolate it from wifi to a very high accuracy.

"Please take off the tin foil hats guys."

If Snowden is reality I wonder what a tin-foil hat person is now? Patronising remark aside, Snowden did have to put his phone in the fridge.

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Re: Sensible approach

It could be a service offered by GCHQ.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

OK, sorry. My bad.

I assumed that everyone had a right to the emergency services, and not just those with smart phones and data contracts.

My parents don't have a smart phone, nor would they have the faintest clue on how to use it if they did.

What happens to those people with no data contract, and so no access to those maps? (Like, I don't know, people visiting the country...)

What happens to those people who are seriously injured who can can just about make a call, but couldn't get to the maps app, wait to find their location and then try to remember what the map said and repeat it to the emergency services. Especially when in the middle of nowhere and your maps shows you a rather large expanse of green countryside.

You are right, the GCHQ are doing bad things (as I think I alluded to in my post). And you know what? They didn't have to steal emergency service data in order to do it!

Yes, take of the tin foil hats. The government (or at least the civil servants) are doing quite nasty things with our data. You don't need conspiracy theories to make that point.

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Re: Sensible approach

and to make the process more efficient for when you do dial 999 the exact location of your phone should be tracked all the time thus not wasting valuable time when that vital call goes out. Can't see a problem myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sensible approach or is it?

"The last gov were toying with the idea of tracking its populations every move so they could steal more money from us. There is a distinct lack of trust in this gov by a lot of people. Do we want gov's we dont like prying into our every movement?

Such overreach is not difficult for a public sector who abused anti terrorism laws to hunt people with dogs. Overreach is too easy and too much the norm."

Taking this approach is to accept that lives will be lost, deliberately making the service ineffective.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

"As was said this already happens with home emergency calls, so why not make it mandatory on mobiles?"

Because no one can tell if you're in, nor track your movements just because they know the address of your landline.

I'd have thought a privacy-friendly solution for smart phones would be to require all manufacturers or network operators (for skinned versions of Android and the like) to include a "999 app" on the phone. Push the big red button and it dials for you whilst also transmitting the location from the GPS chip.

Either that or a daemon in the phone software that transmits the coordinates in the background when either 999 or 112 are dialled.

That way there is no need for the network to track (or have the ability to track) a phone 24/7 on the off-chance it [i]might[/i] make an emergency call - the phone provides location data as and when it makes that call.

As they are increasingly supporting SOS-by-text, GPS coordinates would be relatively trivial to include in an SMS message. An app could format it, or a daemon could invisibly append any message sent to 999/112 with [GPS=51.503201, -0.127012] or something that the control room software can easily parse.

I'll grant that doesn't solve the problem for dumb phones but could be one way forward.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

It's not tracking, it's locating.

I call 999, my location is identified and passed on. No entity history required.

Phone tracking sufferes one problem: It tracks the phone. That's it. It has no idea who is carrying the phone, or if anyone is near it. As such it isn't useful as a replacement for ID cards. All it can do it map where the phone has been, and then hope it was where I was and that I didn't leave it in a bag on the bus, or in the boot of the car, or at home, or the battery went flat and stopped responding, or I'm in an area with bad reception/out of coverage...

Oh, and if you call emergency services on your mobile, dial 112, not 999. 112 allows for a better triangulation of your position from the cell towers. (That's from the advice from the energency services, by the way).

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

""As was said this already happens with home emergency calls, so why not make it mandatory on mobiles?"

Because no one can tell if you're in, nor track your movements just because they know the address of your landline."

Really? If someone uses the land line, then someone is at that physical location unless they've sliced into that particular phone line to make the call. So it doesn't matter WHO made the call, they know WHERE the call was made from.

And this isn't about tracking, this is all about the location the call was made from. Not all mobile phones have GPS built in, or they might not have the power to activate GPS. The cell towers can triangulate your position, but it's not exact. It's why it's better to use 112 when calling emergency services from a mobile phone - it's picked up by the cell towers and used to give a better triangulation to locate you than if you use 999. The question is: Do we refine that further or not.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

"And this isn't about tracking, this is all about the location the call was made from. Not all mobile phones have GPS built in, or they might not have the power to activate GPS."

And you're missing the entire point of the debate - which is that if a mechanism to accurately identify the location of phones exists, it can be subverted to constantly monitor the location of a phone - i.e. tracking.

Triangulation can already be done, but as mentioned by other posters is a bastard to do legally (for very good reasons).

From a privacy point of view it is preferable for the handset to send it's location when the call is make, rather than the network being able to spy on it.

The other consideration is that if I'm in a valley - say I've taken a tumble whilst hillwalking, or I'm in Highfield (deep in the middle of Southampton, with utterly shocking cell signal) I might only have line of sight to one or two cell masts, which severely opens the error bars on my triangulated position. I might on the other hand have a decent GPS fix to within 10metres.

A system whereby 999/112 calls/texts are appended with GPS coordinates, and which then falls back to triangulation if that data is not provided offers a far superior and more accurate service, with a fail mechanism for phones without GPS or that can't see the sky. Triangulation will get you within what, 50m at best (in an area with high tower density, less in rural areas or a long way from masts). GPS will practically walk you onto it, even in rural areas.

It's the same reason 4G phones support previous protocols - in case they don't have a 4G signal available.

The idea of building a system solely around triangulation seems rather short sighted when you could be gathering much better location data direct from the device and not bothering the networks with triangulating calls for you.

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Re: 999 or 112

Given the situation that many people will be in when they want emergency services, I don't think many people will be thinking too clearly about which number to dial. They might even skip the whole "unlock the phone" palaver and hit the emergency call button instead. Which dials 999.

The question is, why does 999 not use tower triangulation if 112 does?

And personally, I thought the emergency services had access to the phone's location chippery anyway. Meh.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

Oh, and if you call emergency services on your mobile, dial 112, not 999. 112 allows for a better triangulation of your position from the cell towers. (That's from the advice from the energency services, by the way).

Well they shouldn't give that advice, because it's nonsense. 112 and 999 both connect to the same operators who have access to the same database. Ofcom is quite clear on that: "999 and 112 should, as far as is reasonably practicable, be given equal treatment within the whole of the UK public telephone network". Any triangulation is done through the phone's identity, and has no relation to the number that was dialled.

They only possble advantage of 112 is that the ability of phones to make emergency calls even when locked, or without a SIM for the available networks, may be implemented for 112 and not for 999, perhaps for a non-UK phone.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it?

Just remember that a GSM/3G/LTE phone doesn't call 999 or 112, it recognises the number dialled as an emergency number and requests a call of type Emergency.

So, when this happens simply make the firmware in the phone enable the GPS (if fitted) and provide as accurate a location as it can via a data connection that is routed to the screen of the emergency operator. No GPS? Then provide a best estimate position based on cell site triangulation or other information (WiFi location?). Otherwise fall back to even less accurate location data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sensible approach or is it?

There is already a system in use by Mountain Rescue teams called SARLOC which is used to identify the location of missing people who have a GPS smartphone.

It does have significant limitations in that the user must have a data connection and location services enabled (preferably GPS obviously) however it has been used numerous times in a search and rescue situations and has saved endless hours of searching, especially for walkers who have no idea where they are and connection to a single cell does not triangulate.

The location is initiated by software that sends out a simple text and a link is clicked to allow the location to be established. The persons location is then sent to the search management software to pinpoint their location.

However, Mountain Rescue, despite being all volunteers and relying on public donations, are specialists in this area and perform many lowland and urban searches in even built-up areas as they are the first call out by the Police for such matters in many regions.

A network based approach would make this easier but it would be technically very difficult and how long would it take before network operators are forced to record the location of every single call you make and just being in the wrong place at the wrong time could see you banged up.

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Re: Sensible approach or is it? @ Brian Morrison

I like the ideas you put forward. Now, remembering that I a not a hardware person, especially wrt phones, what about including a system that punts more than the usual power to the phone's radio transmitter so that there is a better chance of identifying it (either as a big signal in the middle of lots of others, or as a faint signal in the middle of nothing)? If that is rubbish, be gentle with me!

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This is one time when I wouln't mind the government tracking phones.

As for how? Use them all. Cell initially, more precise network tracking where the hardware is available, GPS/google-wifi-database where feature is turned on. An obvious improvement is just to get manufacturers to add a new feature in a firmware update so that making an emergency call automatically activates GPS and wifi listening, and continues to operate it after the call is terminated, sending the location (together with a unique call identifier) as soon as it's available. While the ambulence is on its way to the approximate location and the call-maker is being talked through first aid, the phone can set to the time-consuming task of getting a location fix automatically. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes at most.

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Agreed, the appliances are despatched to the general location early on in the call, then the operator gets the extra information needed from the caller whilst the appliances are bowling through the streets. If the phone would do likewise and start the process of collecting that essential data and transferring it on connection, then it doesn't matter if it takes a few minutes as the alliance is already going to be heading to the area and can use the fix when it arrives.

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I doubt any sensible person would mind their location being shared when making an emergency call, particularly when approximate location is already tracked and recorded by the network.

The problem of handset based (GPS/wifi) solutions is that they depend on a compatible and enabled phone with sufficient battery life to do that, even in the way you suggest. So no use for dumb phones, possible problems for foreign sims roaming in the UK, and always the risk of unforseen tech or power problems (eg with rooted phones running custom ROMS, or unsupported phones).

I reckon on that basis the answer has to be network based. Lets see what the industry reckon the cost of network based tracking is, and whether that makes sense. For some ballpark figures, if the costs nationally were half a billion quid to add this capability (which seems generous to me), and these were amortised over four years, then it adds about 20p to each monthly bill (or equivalent on PAYG top ups).

Given the hundreds of quid being added to (say) my energy bill by government rules that don't benefit me, adding a few pence to my monthly phone bill seems a no brainer.

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Other thing is what happens in a dip or remote area where the GPS/cell signal is crap?

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Other thing is what happens in a dip or remote area where the GPS/cell signal is crap?

Then you have a problem that a better phone or battery-eating GPS tracking is not going to solve.

Wonder if anybody still listens to CB channel 9?

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Ofcom has obviously twigged that the recent NSA/GCHQ "revelations", and earlier experience of what happens whenever the authorities get their hands on some new power, are going to make people exceedingly suspicious that a perfectly reasonable feature (locating 999 callers) will be indiscriminately abused and used to routinely track anybody, anytime.

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@Credas

It may well be a useful solution but being 50m off in busy London could mean an extra 5 minutes travel for an Ambulance and where I live it could be another 10 miles of country lanes if you take the wrong fork in the the road.

I certainly wouldn't want to be tracked all the time but I would imagine it wouldn't be too hard for a telecoms operator to instigate a location finding service on an emergency service call setup. I'm a bit out of touch with the technology but unless its changed dramatically it shouldn't be hard at all and done and dusted by the time the operator answers.

Trouble for me is I have to travel 1/2 mile to get a signal!

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Re: @Credas

My BMW does it now - I have an SOS button that sends all the data through to the control centre if I push it, whilst initiating the call - I'm led to believe it was also automatically make that call if I am in an accident, so it's all possible and makes sense to me.

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As other users have said..

When 999 or whatver is called, the GPS is then activated. I would rather the gps take 3 mins to lock as opposed to the 30 minutes taken to try and triangulate my apx posistion.

If nothing else it can display long-lat co-ordinates on the screen for the person in need of help to read out aloud, or hell, have the synthesised reader in the phone repeat it constantly, like a homing beacon if you will...

Now if only i could get the importance of having a mobile phone in the car (just for emergencies) accross to my elderly father...

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Re: As other users have said..

I like the 'synthesised reader' idea. It neatly makes the whole solution local to the act of dialling 999 and minimises scope for abuse. +1 for that.

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Re: importance of having a mobile phone in the car

Get a cheap nokia brick phone like a Nokia 5100 and keep it in the glove box. It'll hold it's charge for ages, and it will let you make emergency calls even without a sim.

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Holmes

Re: As other users have said..

Giving lat/long or even NGR is not a lot of use unless whoever is on the other end of the phone can actually deal with it. We have a record of talking to the operator on the other end of the phone, telling them to click the little down arrow on their screen next to the box marked "postcode" to allow them to stretch to changing the parameter to NGR, then they could do something with it. Un-named ambulance service covering National Park then decided to call out the Air Ambulance, as it must have been half a mile from a drivable road.

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Re: As other users have said..

Better than synthesised voice, it's a computer network, so use that. If you dial a recognised emergency number the GPS could be activated and an SMS with the location sent to the emergency operators as soon as the position is determined.. It would not be difficult to have that position information linked to the phone number so that the operator dealing with the alert gets it on-screen, even if the call doesn't go through.

That would deal with situations where a signal is too weak to make a voice call, but SMS can get through, and when someone is unable to speak either through injury or a handicap. A child can be taught to dial 112 and help will come, even if they say nothing.

Make it an option in the phone settings for the tinfoil hat brigade.

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The Swiss have an app for that

I can see no reason not to provide location data for emergency calls. It's not a slippery slope, it's a special case.

The Swiss have an app called echo112. It uses your smartphone's GPS to determine your position, call the correct emergency number for your location and sends your location over the data network or text. The emergency operator gets your location by checking the echo112 website: http://www.echo112.com/

"Field tested by Swiss Emergency services for the last two years, now available worldwide"

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Re: The Swiss have an app for that

Thanks, Mugs. I hadn't seen that before. I've now installed it on my phone. It does seem to have some limitations (it needs to be behind the lock-screen, so others can't access it, and it needs the GPS manually activating), and I'm not sure if it changes the language of the message sent out depending on where I am, but it is a good start to what we are talking about here.

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Tradeoffs

OK, let's say that newer smartphone OS versions can be tweaked to switch on GPS and WiFi and whatever "location services" are available when 999 or equivalent is dialled. I assume various cases when it does not work (old software, no GPS in the handset, dumb/feature phone, foreign phone that does not recognize the emergency number) are fine.

* Should the functionality be configurable by the user (allow/deny)?

* The user may be unaware that extra stuff was activated. Should it be switched off when the call ends (if it was off)? X minutes after the call ends? A notification presented to the user with a choice of "keep on / switch off"?

* Should battery level be checked so that activating extra stuff won't drain it too fast?

* Is it so difficult to imagine cases where the caller - or the owner of the phone used - might want to place an emergency call but remain anonymous and unlocatable? The emergency may not involve him/her directly, the services may not need to be deployed to precisely the caller's location, etc.

* If there is a mechanism to activate precise location beacon when dialling a specific set of numbers, who will convince me that it cannot be done by, say, making a call or sending an SMS to me? Or, say, by pressing a particular password/PIN (joel's_123_backdoor or something?) on the locked screen?

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Re: Tradeoffs

These are excellent questions. My thoughts are:

"* Should the functionality be configurable by the user (allow/deny)?"

Yes. There is no duty to contact the emergency services, nor to give any information you don't want to. If a user wants to use the "basic" emergency call system, then they should be allowed to, at their own risk.

"* The user may be unaware that extra stuff was activated. Should it be switched off when the call ends (if it was off)? X minutes after the call ends? A notification presented to the user with a choice of "keep on / switch off"?"

I think that would have to mandated in the specs for all sorts of reasons. I think a combination of switching off after X minutes and a user-operable choice is optimal.

"* Should battery level be checked so that activating extra stuff won't drain it too fast?"

*Any* call is better than none, and so the phone signal should be prioritised, then wifi, and GPS only if there is sufficient power after the other two have been switched on.

"* Is it so difficult to imagine cases where the caller - or the owner of the phone used - might want to place an emergency call but remain anonymous and unlocatable? The emergency may not involve him/her directly, the services may not need to be deployed to precisely the caller's location, etc."

This is a common situation (consider an elderly relative ringing up to say they don't feel well, and then going quiet mid-sentence), and so there needs to be an override to a non-automated system.

"* If there is a mechanism to activate precise location beacon when dialling a specific set of numbers, who will convince me that it cannot be done by, say, making a call or sending an SMS to me? Or, say, by pressing a particular password/PIN (joel's_123_backdoor or something?) on the locked screen?"

Yes, it will be possible, but I would say this is going to be somewhat self-limiting. The battery isn't going to last any time if the whole range of locating devices is switched on (my Galaxy Note will do about an hour with the GPS switched on). Even the most clueless of users is going to notice their device repeatedly becoming dead after a short time (though what they would do about it is another question!)

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Re: Tradeoffs

Actually, on re-reading your last point I realise I missed your point. You are talking about a "spot-check" of location, I think.

That is the weakness of such a system - if it is there, it is hack/crackable, and how trivial it would be to do it. It is where my, and probably others', concerns come in. I suppose there could be a challenge/response system built-in (without a specific response from the emergency services' end of things, the data are not sent), but that has problems in terms of what the response is, how often it is changed, and international standardisation.

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80:20

People have identified a number of situations where there may be problems - rural areas, limited functionality on phones. But that's no reason not to press on with a solution (I like the swiss echo112 idea) - just because you can't handle 100% of the situations, doesn't mean you shouldn't implement something that improves things 80% of the time. After all, the basic 999 doesn't work a lot of the time - if a phone isn't available, if the person has collapsed and is alone, outside mobile range etc. - and that isn't seen as a reason not to offer a 999 service.

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Re: 80:20

"People have identified a number of situations where there may be problems - rural areas, limited functionality on phones. But that's no reason not to press on with a solution "

No, it's no reason not to press on with a trial to establish how well it would work (or a reviewing of the Swiss and other experience).

Even with a modern smartphone in areas of network coverage there's often topographic circumstances where the typical cheapy phone GPS receiver doesn't work with any accuracy for point locations, even though the software makes a good fist of your location as you drive, so rushing out a handset based measure could be a half baked fix that then becomes a barrier to a better, if slightly pricier network solution.

Wouldn't you rather have the best affordable solution, rather than the quickest knee jerk solution?

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Re: 80:20

"Even with a modern smartphone in areas of network coverage there's often topographic circumstances where the typical cheapy phone GPS receiver doesn't work with any accuracy for point locations, even though the software makes a good fist of your location as you drive, so rushing out a handset based measure could be a half baked fix that then becomes a barrier to a better, if slightly pricier network solution.

Wouldn't you rather have the best affordable solution, rather than the quickest knee jerk solution?"

There's often topographic circumstances why triangulation is less accurate than GPS.

Why not both? Why limit it to phone OR network?

Some phones don't have GPS, whilst some calls may have GPS available but come from the edge of coverage where they only have the most tenuous of signals from a single mast, rendering triangulation not especially helpful.

It doesn't seem too difficult for the call centre software to parse the call/text for embedded GPS coordinates - and on failing to find them, falls back to requesting triangulation data. Reduces the burden on networks, provides coverage in both areas where triangulation wouldn't work as well as areas where GPS is compromised.

Also, your assumption that phone GPS chips provide a poor point fix is a bit sweeping - some phones may have decent chips, and indeed over the next 5/10/15 years superior affordable chips may become available for handset manufacturers. In which case they might make your pricier network solution look rushed and inaccurate!

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For me it;s simple

If I am in a crisis then please by all means track me withing 1/2 a millimeter of my position. If it means that there is someone that can help me / save me or whatever go for it.

In regards to the 'wider net' of monitoring think of this...

Facebook - checking in location and tagging your 'chats' on the fly

Photos - geo tagging

Google - Google now service and g+

WEather widgets taht are set to 'my location'

Instagram

would not be surprised for twitter (don't use it so no idea)

numerous applications that get this info...

So people are happy to 'share' their location with these coorporates but as soon as the 'gov' wants it.. OH MY GOD THEY ARE BIG BROTHER etc....

Wake up, smell the coffee you are not that important!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you are not that important!

oh, but I am ... at least to me :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For me it;s simple

"Wake up, smell the coffee you are not that important!"

Yet important enough to be spied on? And important enough that my location needs to go to the government all the time just in case I have a crisis?

I'm confused, am I important or not???

"So people are happy to 'share' their location with these coorporates but as soon as the 'gov' wants it.. OH MY GOD THEY ARE BIG BROTHER etc...."

NSA are not my government, I didn't elect them, and I don't have a vote in the US elections. I think you are conflating the emergency services with a military spook breaking the law. That's a disservice to the Ambulance men and Firemen.

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Re: For me it;s simple

@ Richard Rae

"Facebook - checking in location and tagging your 'chats' on the fly

Photos - geo tagging

Google - Google now service and g+

WEather widgets taht are set to 'my location'

Instagram

would not be surprised for twitter (don't use it so no idea)

numerous applications that get this info..."

Great for you. Of that list I have a facebook account where I do very little (cant remember the last time I posted or messaged) and this is from 2 computers (not my mobile) one at home and one at work. The rest I dont use. I have a smart phone I regret because all I care about is call and text. The smart phone does nothing else I am interested in and I find it takes longer and is less reliable than a standard mobi.

So while you are so unimportant you are happy to put out all that info if someone (maybe future GF at any security service) found you important. I am sure snowdon was unimportant too, until he became important.

This information is already being abused and laws too. Such a service would be fantastic and helpful, but what is the cost when you have cretins abusing it for their own gain?

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Re: For me it;s simple

Except I'm not happy to and I don't, as far as I'm concerned its none of their business.

With the possible exception of turning on locations for the odd time I use the phone as a sat nav.

I don't have any problems tbh with the gov tracking my location for emergency calls, we just need to make sure that the rules are drafted properly with no leeway to allow other concerns to get their sticky fingers in.

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Re: For me it;s simple

So people are happy to 'share' their location with these coorporates but as soon as the 'gov' wants it.. OH MY GOD THEY ARE BIG BROTHER etc....

I doubt it : those people would see nothing to be concerned about. The ones that are expressing concern would, I wager, not be the sort to want to tell the world where they are at every opportunity.

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Re: For me it;s simple @Richard Rae

The examples you post are all used by choice, and can be avoided entirely or switched off. Your argument could be used to advocate cameras in every bedroom/toilet to monitor for health problems.

There is a big difference between these kind of apps and something that is mandated by governments.

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The AA have an app for that

The UK Automobile Assosiation have an app that will track your position via the mobiles gps so why not just make one for emergency calls.It will then be up to the end user weather they install it or not.

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Re: The AA have an app for that

Tried that once to see how well it worked, it didn't as the operator didn't know where I was and had to provide details.

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how to do this?

I know that mobile phone operators can knowingly boost the power of their signal based on weather conditions to know locally what strength of signal is needed. Surely with a bit of information from a second tower (assuming directionality is known), you can quite easily put the emergency services in the ballpark, as the signal strength should help with refining the distance. Mobile masts aren't going anywhere

After all, the direction finder part is how a VOR on a plane works, and can give you quite good accuracy going 100miles an hour.

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