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Cellphones Communications Iphone Software Apple

Apple Devices At California Repair Center Keep Calling 911 88

Since October 2017, Apple has made around 1,600 false alarm 911 calls from a distribution site in Elk Grove. "We've been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple," said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson. "We're able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location." CBS Sacramento reports: On average, Elk Grove Police say they've received 20 accidental 911 calls a day from Apple, roughly 1,600 calls since October. Hudson says the calls take valuable seconds away from calls that could be real life-and-death emergencies. "The times when it's greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call," he said. The calls are all coming from an Apple repair and refurbishing center off Laguna Boulevard. The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Communication Center is also getting these calls -- 47 since January 1. Dispatchers there say they sometimes hear technicians working in the background. Apple hasn't confirmed which of their devices is actually causing these calls: the iPhone or Apple watch, but both devices can be triggered easily. With just a touch of a button, SOS comes on and 911 is called.
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Apple Devices At California Repair Center Keep Calling 911

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  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @07:26PM (#56179135) Homepage

    They call 911 by themselves because they are desperate about their throughput with apple slowing them down because of old batteries.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Apple who cried Wolf. Maybe they are doing this so that way they won't know if the employees are calling to report an actual emergency like a fire?

  • There surely are laws about falsely calling 911 repeatedly? If so, do what the law says, fine them, throw them in jail.
    If a corporate citizen is a citizen, then you can put that citizen in prison where he belongs.If you need to shore up the regions finances, fine them. 50.000 dollars per false call and they will stop their shit quick.

    • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @07:34PM (#56179181) Homepage

      Here's the CA penal code [].

      A person who knowingly allows the use or who uses the 911 emergency system for any reason other than because of an emergency is guilty of an infraction, punishable as follows

      Increasing fines up to $250/call after the third violation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Key word being "knowingly".

        Have fun proving intent

        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          knowingly allows or uses

          1) Knowingly allows
          2) Uses

          I think they're doing both.

          • Both imply intent and deliberate action, neither of which is going to be the case.

            • by gnick ( 1211984 )

              IANAL, but I'm just guessing based on the idea that they know about the behavior and they've yet to stop it. Stopping it might require drastic steps, I dunno, point is they are knowingly allowing it to continue even if they aren't initiating the calls.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                IANAL? I barely know ya!

              • Well, I also know that phones sometimes are accidentally caused to dial 911. It might happen to my own phone one day. Doesn't mean I'll be knowingly allowing it to happen on that occasion.

                • by mysidia ( 191772 )

                  Happening ONCE a year is an "accident"

                  Happening ONCE a quarter is negligence.

                  Happening ONCE a month is gross-negligence -- should result in fines

                  Happening ONCE a week is willful violation -- should result in major fines

                  Happening ONCE a day is gross violation -- should result in escalating response

                  Happening MORE THAN ONCE a day should have police putting potentially responsible people in jail and asking questions later.

            • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

              No, "knowingly allows the use" does not imply intent or deliberate action, it only implies knowledge of the action. Apple knows this is happening, and they haven't stopped.

              • Knowing about it doesn't mean they are knowingly allowing it.

                I know that phones sometimes dial 911 unintentionally. It might happen to my phone one day. Would that mean I'd knowingly allowed it to happen?

                • by mysidia ( 191772 )

                  If the police inform you that a 911 call is coming from your house every day, then further calls are Knowingly, And you have a lawful duty to prevent further false calls --- even if that means you have to turn off or permanently disable
                    a broken phone errantly making false to accomplish that, otherwise you are Knowingly and willfully making the further violations that occur after you have been Made aware by notice.

            • Intentionally, knowingly, negligently, and recklessly are all key terms in law, all very well defined and they all mean different things.

              If a law is supposed to mean "intentionally", they say "intentionally". "Knowingly" is distinctly different term, with a very different well-defined meaning. Knowingly means exactly what it sounds like - the person knew what was going on. "Intentionally" would mean they tried to make it happen. Reckless means with complete disregard for whether it happens, and negligen

            • by mysidia ( 191772 )

              Both imply intent and deliberate action, neither of which is going to be the case.

              NOPE --- Knowingly includes INACTION or failure to prevent after you have been given notice of an ongoing, continued, or repeated inaction; it's happening 20 times a day, s othere's absolutely Zero way they could claim this is not happening knowingly.... Maybe Apple can afford the $250/Call fine and it isn't enough to justify them fixing it ----- then I would suggest they escalate the fine to $2500/Call after the n

            • How do these devices connect to a phone network? Do they have service plans while being refurbished?

        • Another key word is 'person'.

          I'll bet these are just scared little 'ol iPhone 4's trying to escape from a recycling facility.

          I feel sorry for the little buggers.

      • The city of San Francisco, population ~850,000, receives about 4000 911 calls every day. I've called 911 twice in my entire life, both were legit emergencies for other people.

        A person living on the street ended up dying, possibly because people calling 911 on his behalf couldn't get through. So the city finally started adding more operators, changing procedures so they could transfer non-emergency calls to a different department, etc. Apparently 1/3 of calls are accidental, butt dialing, dialing 91 fro

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          A large percentage of the rest are people calling about non-emergency stuff. There's a homeless camp outside my house, someone broke into my car last night, my car was towed, and the like. Since you have these folks numbers how about a three strike policy. You get three strikes over two years, then you get fined $200.

          On Sunday, I called the Santa Cruz police department because my car got broken into. Their voicemail system said that their phone number is for administrative calls, and that if you have an em

        • There's a problem in that non-emergency numbers aren't widely known. A lot of people think 911 means the phone line of the local police or fire.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          You get three strikes over two years, then you get fined $200.

          With the current level of fines it's $250 after 3 calls, so Apple's 20 bogus calls a day will only cost them 150,000 a month. Since that's not stopping them, either (A) They aren't being given the proper fine, or (B) Apple considers it just a cost of doing business --- not a large enough fine to justify any changes.

          Thus why when the government FINES a business they oughta add a GROSS REVENUE clause. If either your annual gross in

    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @07:36PM (#56179191)

      There surely are laws about falsely calling 911 repeatedly? If so, do what the law says, fine them, throw them in jail.

      What they need to do is next time a false 911 call comes in.... do a dispatch, send a team to the facility.
      Rope it off. Detain all persons present in the building for questioning.. Nobody may enter or leave this building, until the exact device that made the call is identified

      Investigate, make sure the call was false, identify the device.

      Seize the device into police custody.

      Seize all similar iPhones or smart Watches present and put them into evidence.

      Start interviewing witnesses in search for the person who made the false call. If no person could be found, find the highest ranking manager in control over that location and begin arraignment proceedings for false 911 calls.

      • Sounds like a great way to open the police up to a lawsuit when they subsequently don't pull out all the stops in this manner for some random person's accidental-or-otherwise 911 call.

      • So the solution to the problem is to double down on the already absurd overuse of police force that the USA suffers from, opening them up to lawsuits from a very wealthy company in the process?

        GREAT IDEA!

        Better idea. Just fine them as the code allows for each false call.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          So the solution to the problem is to double down on the already absurd overuse of police force that the USA suffers from, opening them up to lawsuits from a very wealthy company in the process?

          They're not subject to being sued, because police have the power to take actions to stop life-threatening crimes from action, AND criminal actions trump civil actions, so by having a criminal action any attempts to sue them will be rejected or thrown out of court until the criminal actions are resolved.

          It's NOT a

      • Send all the Apple engineers to Gitmo until they agree to release a Macbook Pro with user upgradeable Ram and user upgradeable NVMe storage.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          Not Gitmo.... but I agree the fact that traditionally replaceable commodity parts, especially consumables are permanently installed --- should be considered a deliberate design defect AKA intentionally built to fail, AND Apple should be required to compensate consumers for the additional costs; for example if you purchase a new NVMe, then Apple should be required to install the module free of charge, including performing all necessary solder work, and warranting that work for an unlimited time period.

    • My phone used to call 911 at least once a month. The problem was that the it would turn on by pushing the home button, which was very easy to do when you put your phone in your pocket. Then just by sliding up on the screen it will open up a dialer and it will only dial emergency numbers without being unlocked. And apparently 911 is easy to dial. I didn't have a phone case, but most of them did not cover up the home key in any way. My older Android phone allowed a configuration to allow/disallow using h

    • "There surely are laws about falsely calling 911 repeatedly?"

      No-BODY- calls. These are phones without simcards sent in for repairs, battery changes. I guess it's some glitch or short-cicuit doing this.

      Unless it's the battery-changing monkeys calling to be rescued.

    • by sphealey ( 2855 )

      Yes, a heavy-handed prosecution for an unintentional hardware problem would be a big win for corporate responsibility here. Likely outcome:

      "We sincerely and deeply apologize for the unintended 911 calls. Here is a check for the fine.
      Can you please provide some additional traffic control at our facility this Saturday? We are moving the repair center and its 500 jobs to Mexico and the moving trucks may cause a bit of a traffic jam. Thanks."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course they would call. The Bionic CPU is sentient and Apple is operating on them without anesthetics.

  • If only Apple had enough money to pay the 911 service to employ a couple of extra dispatchers as compensation for dealing with their nuisance calls.
    • If only Apple had enough money to pay the 911 service to employ a couple of extra dispatchers as compensation for dealing with their nuisance calls.

      Apple has tons of money . . . but unfortunately, it's all stored in a byzantine maze of foreign bank accounts and shell companies . . . all safely away from the prying eyes, and greedy, grubby hands of the IRS.

      The 911 calls are probably from a disgruntled worker looking for a break from work when the cops show up, or just looking for cheap shits and giggles, just like any swatter.

      The cops should use the Kansas Hard Guy Engagement Plan and just shoot whoever opens the door at Apple. The resulting furor wo

    • Or build a fucking Faraday cage to work in.

  • Making a false 911 call is a crime. Why is Apple not getting fined for each and every one of these calls? If Joe Blow did this, he'd be going to jail.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      We've been saying ever since the iPhone 6 came out that putting the power button directly across from the volume buttons made it hard to turn off the phone without accidentally hitting the volume buttons, which cancels out the power button press.

      So what did Apple do about it? They made holding down power + either volume button call freaking 911. It seems pretty likely that they didn't run any tests beforehand to determine how often those buttons were pressed accidentally, because if they had, the entire

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        Again, another proof that Apple is going downhill without SJ. Bring him back. Oh wait... :(

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ok so are these devices dialing 911 by themselves or are technicians somehow activating it. One wonders why this cannot be remedied? I wonder is this occurring in the public too?

  • by DCFusor ( 1763438 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @08:20PM (#56179385) Homepage
    trapped in a little box by a guy who keeps shoving my face into his butt. Help!
  • Box is faulty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @08:50PM (#56179497)

    The iPhone8+ box is too tight. So the power button is getting partially pressed and when you move the box around, it can accidentally get pressed few times in quick succession triggering emergency call. It happened with Apple employee when I bought my phone and happened with me once at home as well.

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.