New Zealand Improves Emergency Call Location
Friday, May 12, 2017 | Comments

New Zealand officials announced a new caller location system for 1-1-1 mobile-phone calls that they said will improve public safety and help save lives.

“The new system will automatically provide emergency services with a probable location of a caller when they dial 1-1-1,” said Police Minister Paula Bennett. “It will still be important for 1-1-1 callers to tell emergency services operators where they are. However, if the caller doesn’t know their address or exact whereabouts, the new system will automatically provide emergency services with a more precise location of a 1-1-1 caller than is currently the case.”

Each year, there are more than 2 million calls to emergency services in New Zealand. Last year, more than 80 percent of calls to 1-1-1 were made from mobile phones, and police recorded over 1,800 incidents where they had to make a special information request to a network provider for a caller’s location.

The level of location accuracy will still vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of mobile phone and the location source available.

“This solution sees New Zealand leading the way in emergency response systems, alongside the United Kingdom and other European countries,” said Communications Minister Simon Bridges. “New Zealand is the first country outside of Europe to go live with Google’s Android Emergency Location service nationally.”

Bridges says the project team worked closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to address any privacy concerns in developing the new system.

“I appreciate that some people may have concerns around privacy, which is why the phone’s location services are switched on only when the 1-1-1 call is made and then returned to the caller’s original settings within 25 seconds of the 1-1-1 call being initiated,” he said. “All location data will only be held for 60 minutes and will then be deleted.”

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