Google strikes for modifications to Android Emergency SOS in response to unintended calls

Emergency calls have been round without end, connecting telephone customers with life-saving providers. However extra not too long ago, smartphones and wearables have given us some cool new methods to entry that assist, like crash detection and fall detection. However, typically these techniques go improper, like they did earlier this yr when Android telephones began making unintended 911 calls — and now, it is taking place once more.


Emergency SOS debuted on Pixels with Android 12, and Google made its presence on telephones a requirement for different OEMs, as nicely. The characteristic is meant to make it simpler to contact emergency providers throughout a disaster by simply jamming in your telephone’s energy button loads — hitting it 5+ occasions will begin a countdown that robotically dials for assist. Sadly, that appears to be an motion that is all too simple to by chance carry out with out realizing the implications.

When Android telephones inadvertently contact emergency providers, that not solely burdens communication facilities with “silent” calls, but in addition presumably delay assist for these in real want. As authorities worldwide sound the alarm, Google finds itself charged with addressing this downside.

The UK’s Nationwide Police Chiefs Council speculates that this report variety of 999 calls is, partially, as a result of rising availability of Emergency SOS on Android telephones. Police forces throughout the UK, similar to Devon and Cornwall Police, have reported that silent calls have been consuming vital sources, with every name taking as much as 20 minutes to deal with.

Responding to the rising issues, Google explains that it expects machine producers to subject updates to resolve this subject. In a dialog with the BBC, a Google spokesperson clarified that the corporate shall be serving to OEMs forestall these calls by offering them with extra steerage and sources. Customers who’ve skilled this subject first-hand are inspired to modify off the Emergency SOS characteristic.

Android knowledgeable Mishaal Rahman additional highlights the worldwide extent of this subject, pointing to warnings from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia. And in response to the European Emergency Quantity Affiliation, that is additionally an issue there, the place affiliation members are noticing a surge in false Emergency SOS calls coming from Android gadgets.

Regardless of the current replace to Android 13, the issue appears to have persevered for the reason that preliminary deployment of the Emergency SOS characteristic in Android 12.

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