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All New Verizon Phones Sound An Alarm If 9-1-1 Is Dialed [Sep. 12th, 2007|11:45 pm]
Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015
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From FCC ADOPTS WIRELESS 911 RULES:

"Automatic A/B Roaming - Intelligent Retry: <snip>...The Order approves this mode, subject to two conditions that address the possibility that this mode may cause long set-up times in some cases. These conditions are: (1) that the handset provide effective feedback to inform the user when 911 call processing is underway, such as an audible tone or message and a visual status report, and (2) that, in any case once a 911 is sent, the handset not spend more than 17 seconds seeking to complete the call with the preferred carrier before reattempting the call with the non-preferred carrier. If the handset does not receive confirmation that the call is ringing at the 911 location within that 17 seconds, the handset would switch the call to the other cellular carrier."

Well, that's just ducky, don't you think. Too bad I just signed a two year contract with Verizon. Not all carriers phones use the method that requires an alarm.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2007-09-13 02:35 pm (UTC)
Not ducky at all. Clearly it puts 911 callers (especially women, I think) in danger. Years ago, Oprah had a show in which a woman who had managed to call 911 whiled being abducted was able to inform police of the whereabouts of the car she was in, apparently having hysterics, but in the process mentioning landmarks. An alarm sound would have doomed her--the abductors would have known about the call.

I think letters to Congresscritters and maybe Oprah are called for.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-13 03:54 pm (UTC)
I get it. It's not to protect the phone owner, it's to prevent accidental 911 calls. This is the best they could come up with? I'll contact victims services and NYPD in NYC. You take Austin. Anyone else?
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-13 04:02 pm (UTC)

First We Take Manhattan...

Victim Services is a good idea too. I'll call the Austin version, and APD as well.

Do you know anyone who could write a piece about it for a newspaper?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2007-09-13 06:34 pm (UTC)

Re: First We Take Manhattan...

Sure, but they'd want to have their own people do it, probably. I can't do it until the copyedited ms. is on its way. A call to the newsdesk might get you a reporter or email them a story idea.

The subject line I'm using is "Verizon Cellphone Policy Endangers Crime Victims." That's a grabber. Then give that's who and what. In the body, give them "how" (by making a loud noise that alerts criminals to someone making a surreptitious call during a crime-in-progress or other dangerous situation) and when (every time someone needs to call in police and it would be dangerous to be seen or heard doing so.)

Mention that people have saved their own and other lives, and enabled police to intervene in criminal activity and catch criminals by making such calls, and then briefly describe your shock at finding that Verizon chose to implement this dangerous policy without even informing customers. You can point out that Cingular doesn't have the same policy (a friend to whom I emailed your story has Cingular, recently had reason to call 911 to report a wreck, and her phone didn't make a loud noise.

That's all I can do right now.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-13 03:56 pm (UTC)

Siren, I'll Show You Siren

I just sent a message to the producers of Oprah. That was a great suggestion that I never would have thought of.

I'll get to work on the law-makers if I survive today's trip out to the land (actually I'm bringing G's phone so I can call 9-1-1 quietly if I need help).

I want to spread the word about the alarm, so tell everyone you can.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2007-09-13 04:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Siren, I'll Show You Siren

Since I believe a personal story makes something more real, may I quote from your earlier post about this problem, or would you repost it on my sff.net newsgroup? I'd like to put it on both MY LJ and that newsgroup.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-13 08:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Siren, I'll Show You Siren

Quote away!
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-13 05:08 pm (UTC)
I have a Verizon phone too. Is there any way to find out if my phone has an alarm without actually calling 911?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2007-09-13 06:35 pm (UTC)
If you have a Verizon phone, it will do the same thing. That's Verizon's policy.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-13 08:55 pm (UTC)
dial 9-1-1, hit Send, wait a half a second and then hit End. There's a time lag, so you should be able to turn it off before it actually dials, and the half second is long enough to hear the alarm. It starts right after you hit Send.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-14 01:41 pm (UTC)
It's on all new phones. I just got my phone three weeks ago. When I tried to exchange it for one that didn't have the alarm they said that every new Verizon phone has the 9-1-1 alarm.

The change is very recent.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-14 01:42 pm (UTC)
That should be all new Verizon phones. Not all carries have audible 9-1-1 alarms on their phones.
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[User Picture]From: asmittenkitten
2007-09-13 05:09 pm (UTC)

Oops

anonymouse = asmittenkitten
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-13 07:26 pm (UTC)
I'll speak to M. Daly. He has a column at the Daily News. What about that creepy bitch on Court TV. I think it's Nancy Grace. She's always talking about disgusting crimes. I'll watch it (a huge sacrifice for the cause) and see if it would make any sense to contact her show.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-13 07:54 pm (UTC)

my letter to daly

Here's my letter to Michael Daly. I attached your letter, but I cut a couple of lines, and I attached the FCC link.

He's a great guy. Maybe he will have some ideas.


Hi Michael,

My sister, Carol, got a new cell phone a few weeks ago. Recently she had occasion to call the cops, but when she dialed 9-1-1, an alarm siren on the phone started shrieking loudly. When things settled down she called Verizon to find out how to turn off the alarm and was told that it was impossible because the FCC requires it on all new phones as a "safety" feature. She did some research and apparently it's true (FCC info below). Verizon claims it's a safety feature; I think it's a victim locator beacon for predators and stalkers. Forget hiding in the closet and calling 911.

Carol wrote a letter to the phone manufacturer and Verizon explaining why this is a horrible idea, but she and I both think it needs wider attention. Maybe you? Maybe someone else at the News? Any other ideas?

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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-13 08:04 pm (UTC)

Re: my letter to nyc domestic violence prevention office

There was a word limit here.

You should be aware that FCC regs require all new cell phones have an audible alarm that will be activated when user dials 911. It can't be disabled. This will endanger women who see their abuser nearby and need to call 911 without revealing their location. New Verizon phones have this feature already. Women need to know about it before they need 911, and the FCC and cell companies need to reverse this decision. Please help. Feel free to contact me. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-13 08:56 pm (UTC)

Re: my letter to nyc domestic violence prevention office

Thanks.
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From: ingulf
2007-09-13 11:05 pm (UTC)
The actual order, corresponding to the press release you quoted, is here:

http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Orders/1999/fcc99096.txt

However, the reason given is that if the phone is taking a while to connect, they don't want the user to drop the call. Since that wouldn't seem to require a loud noise, I'm a bit confused. Maybe there is another order which specifies that.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-14 12:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link.
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From: ingulf
2007-09-13 11:19 pm (UTC)
These guys look useful:
http://www.wirelessconsumers.org

They actually filed suit with the fcc regarding some technical issue regarding 911 ( see http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Orders/2000/da001052.pdf )
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-14 01:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I sent them an e-mail about the alarm.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-14 01:53 pm (UTC)
Probably Verizon made some shady deal with a company that makes cell phone sirens and now they are just trying to blame the poor FCC for their corrupt blunder. The poor, poor, poor FCC.
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[User Picture]From: curculio
2007-09-14 01:55 pm (UTC)

You are looking at this backwards

I can't believe you are letting a little inconvenience (oh, sure there may be collateral damage to someone later) get in the way of your red-blooded American values. Be the first to have siren-tones installed in your phone! Yes, that is right, Wagner comes to mind as a potentially top seller, perhaps Beethoven's 9th, you can think of others. I'm going to install Iron Butterfly's, In a Garden of Eden, Baby, the full version on mine. They'll have to pluck the phone out of my cold stone hands to get that baby to turn off.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-14 02:21 pm (UTC)
The new RAZR's will have an alarm.

My land is outside of town where it's pretty quiet. I need my phone to stay silent when I call 9-1-1. Even a pleasant chime will announce my presence.

I think that Verizon will not activate any phone that doesn't have the alarm. See http://tinyurl.com/34hpmn.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-15 05:23 am (UTC)
All the E911 stuff has nothing to do with the phone making a racket. Just because it starts squalling when you dial 911 won't help anyone but the bad guys find you. There was an awful incident in NYC where lives would have been saved if: 1)the caller's location could have been determined by the 911 dispatcher, and 2) if the dispatcher hadn't been such a lazy, uncaring moron, and 3) the poor victims had had any common sense. That's part of the reason why we've been paying so much in fees, so that the phone companies could put such a system in place. I've called 911 in Brooklyn and it took almost four minutes before anyone answered. I timed it. That's a lot of noise, and considering the crappy batteries they ship with their phones, it would probably kill the phone before anyone answered anyway. Bah! I'll write more letters over the weekend.
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[User Picture]From: ndozo
2007-09-15 04:48 pm (UTC)

Here's a workaround.

Until the FCC changes the regs, and the cell phone manufacturers undo all their noisy features, here's an idea: I think all old cell phones, even ones that are no longer activated, can still call 911. So if you have a charged cell phone that is new enough to access a network you would be able to use it in an emergency. It wouldn't matter what provider originally sold the phone. If I'm right, you could just get a Goodwill cellphone and keep it handy for those special occasions.
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2007-09-15 05:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Here's a workaround.

I've been carrying G's phone when I go out to the land. But carrying two phones is a hassle.

And the biggest danger is to people who don't know about the alarm having it go off unexpectedly when they are trying to be sneaky. That really really sucks.
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