Google has launched a new fix to address the uptake of accidental 911 calls through Android phones.
With “Emergency SOS,” five consecutive taps on the power button would trigger an automatic call to emergency services. While the feature could be helpful in many situations, it proved to be a headache for many law enforcement agencies around the world, including in Canada.
In April, the OPP asked Android users to turn the feature off. The RCMP in B.C. made a similar request soon after, citing a “significant increase” in abandoned 911 calls.
According to Mishaal Rahman, Google addressed the issue in late June by introducing an extra confirmation step. Now, when users activate the emergency system, a “touch and hold” screen will appear. Users need “to tap and hold the button for three seconds to initiate emergency SOS,” Rahman wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Here’s how Google (actually) addressed the spike in false 911 calls placed by Android phones.
Earlier this year, law enforcement and emergency service operators around the world saw a spike in false emergency calls being placed by Android phones.
This was blamed on Android’s… pic.twitter.com/4gcusLEkHt
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) October 20, 2023
Google has required all devices from Android 12 to include the emergency SOS feature but left the manufacturer to decide if it’s turned on by default.
New users setting up emergency SOS will see this as their default option. Those who previously set up the feature “can switch to this mode” for extra assurance, Rahman notes.
Via: Mishaal Rahman