E911?


Grench

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I dunno, if it has that functionality advertised and you initiate a call to the emergency services, as I understand the legislation (that is not at all really) it should recognise what you're doing and send the location data. The only question in my mind is whether we have any control over what data source it uses; the rules say it can use triangulation data, or timed deltas from two or more stations (?) or full GPS coordinates, or another method I don't understand at all I think. Maybe if we haven't turned on the GPS and it doesn't have a satellite lock, it'll fall back to the older methods I dunno.
Yes, on a device level, the device has to do that if it is going to be called a 'phone'. There are lots of laptops and tablets that are connected computing devices that do not do that. As far as I know, the Pyra is shipping as a connected computing device. I.e. not a phone.

But, even within the phone, there are several layers of interaction that have to be handled in software.
* First, phone to user. User has to initiate the call. Which requires phone dialer software (or brute force AT commands).
* Phone to/from tower(s). Phone has to communicate to a mobile phone tower, which requires software to manage tower/frequency switching. The software on the phone keeps track of what towers are in range. The software on the tower keeps track of what phones are in range.
* Phone from GPS satellite(s). Phone gets GPS signal from 2 or more satellites, interprets those in software to generate it's location.

The E911 system is, to my knowledge, a piece of code on the phone that can be activated from the tower to force the phone to reply with all of it's positional information gathered from the above software's outputs. The Pyra doesn't have that software stack.

However, on the page:
https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/pages/pyra/
It states:
The mobile edition adds mobile internet, and also has telephony services (making the Pyra a phone), it also adds GPS, a 6-axis digital compass, a pressure-, humidity- and gas -sensor.
Just having a chip that can contact a mobile phone tower doesn't make the device a 'phone' though. Just having the ability to force an ADTD command through the device does not make it a compliant 'phone'. There is a software stack that would need to be developed.
 

Silent-Hunter

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I hope that software stack will be developed then, or that one of the ones that may be ported has that functionality. I would actually like to have the option of sharing my location with emergency services, if I need them.
 

levi

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One question that arises in my mind; is this chip normally designed to be fitted in mobile phones, or it is more designed for connected laptops and things - if there even is a real distinction. The fact it's got GPS on board seems to me to be so they could make it do full E911 automatically once you've initiated an emergency call via some mechanism, from an AT command on at TTY or a full phone software stack.

Further digging brings up something called RRLP. This seems to be a network level protocol whereby the network can enquire about your location. It says this is what happens in E911 calls. Apparently there's no authentication and no user notification that this is happening, which is a security concern if the network, or maybe anyone on the network can track your movments via this method. I might therefore not put a SIM card into my Pyra ever, although I still want the networked unit, because I'd like to have a more modern GPS unit.
 

Grench

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I hope that software stack will be developed then, or that one of the ones that may be ported has that functionality. I would actually like to have the option of sharing my location with emergency services, if I need them.
I too hope that proper telephony software will be developed for the Pyra. But, you're the first case I've seen of someone who wanted auto-tracking enabled on a Pyra.

It is quite possible that phone towers could be set up such that they will only allow phone calls to/from devices that respond with their GPS location.

One question that arises in my mind; is this chip normally designed to be fitted in mobile phones, or it is more designed for connected laptops and things - if there even is a real distinction. The fact it's got GPS on board seems to me to be so they could make it do full E911 automatically once you've initiated an emergency call via some mechanism, from an AT command on at TTY or a full phone software stack.

Further digging brings up something called RRLP. This seems to be a network level protocol whereby the network can enquire about your location. It says this is what happens in E911 calls. Apparently there's no authentication and no user notification that this is happening, which is a security concern if the network, or maybe anyone on the network can track your movments via this method. I might therefore not put a SIM card into my Pyra ever, although I still want the networked unit, because I'd like to have a more modern GPS unit.
Well, if my theories above that this functionality requires a software stack to work are correct, then on the Pyra this would be something that could be turned off or made switchable - in theory.

Personally, I plan to keep the 4G radios turned off unless I need them on. When I need them on, I'm not overly concerned that the hypothetical 'they' can track me to within a few feet when I'm already connecting to multiple towers and can be easily triangulated to within tens of feet.

Tower triangulation by itself can tell the phone company - and by extension authorities - what city block you are likely within with a standard deviation of about a city block.

GPS triangulation happens much faster if tower triangulation has already been accounted for, and once GPS triangulation is done, that can tell the phone company - and by extension authorities - which sidewalk square you're standing on with a standard deviation of about 2 squares.

Even WiFi can theoretically 'track you down'. Back when Google first did their streetview stuff they got into a bit of hot water over having also mapped the private WiFi networks that they drove through on the way. If national governments haven't bothered to map WiFi 'towers' (each WiFi access point is a tower) to their respective gateway IPs, then I think I have some consulting services to sell.

Back in the days of analog cell phones that simply connected to whatever tower was strongest there was significant fuzziness over the location of any single phone. There is no true wireless connection anonymity anymore.
 

Silent-Hunter

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I too hope that proper telephony software will be developed for the Pyra. But, you're the first case I've seen of someone who wanted auto-tracking enabled on a Pyra.
It's not really auto-tracking, it should happen ONLY if I call 911, and if I am calling 911 I darn well want them to know exactly where I am. If you're right, and it's software controlled, then for extra security, we could write the software so that it only enables the tracking if 911 is the number called.
 

levi

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Personally, I plan to keep the 4G radios turned off unless I need them on. When I need them on, I'm not overly concerned that the hypothetical 'they' can track me to within a few feet when I'm already connecting to multiple towers and can be easily triangulated to within tens of feet.

Tower triangulation by itself can tell the phone company - and by extension authorities - what city block you are likely within with a standard deviation of about a city block.

GPS triangulation happens much faster if tower triangulation has already been accounted for, and once GPS triangulation is done, that can tell the phone company - and by extension authorities - which sidewalk square you're standing on with a
standard deviation of about 2 squares.
That's a good point. Yes, AGPS is GPS primed using cell tower tracking to identify which satellites you're likely to spot and to plot that big red circle before GPS positive lock is received. But yes, I shouldn't be too worried about RRLP giving away my location to the network. The paper I read was concerned about fake towers being able to get your location, and I guess that is a slightly bigger concern because a single rogue network element could track you while connected, while you'd need to be connected to three rogue cell towers to do it via triangulation, but rogue cell telecoms aren't really something on my concern radar at the moment at least.

Even WiFi can theoretically 'track you down'. Back when Google first did their streetview stuff they got into a bit of hot water over having also mapped the private WiFi networks that they drove through on the way. If national governments haven't bothered to map WiFi 'towers' (each WiFi access point is a tower) to their respective gateway IPs, then I think I have some consulting services to sell.
I'm not sure wifi is as big a concern. Sure, they might know where all the wifi APs are, but that's only of secondary use. First they've got to get into your device to find out which APs you've seen recently. If they're in your device it's game over for your power against whoever it is, and they can probably see much more compromising material than just your location.
 

AxPU

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It's not really auto-tracking, it should happen ONLY if I call 911, and if I am calling 911 I darn well want them to know exactly where I am. If you're right, and it's software controlled, then for extra security, we could write the software so that it only enables the tracking if 911 is the number called.
I understand your wish for that functionality. But do you expect to have to call Emergency Services with your Pyra ever? Do you plan to use it as your cellphone replacement? Because in all other cases I would just use my phone.

That said, I would not count on E911 working without additional software on the phone. But I'd be really interested to learn more about it.
 

WizardStan

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Do you plan to use it as your cellphone replacement?
Yes, I intend to use it as a phone replacement. I almost never use my phone as an actual voice machine, the microphone broke a very long time ago. On the rare occasion I do need to make a voice call I have a bluetooth earpiece: they Pyra, while not a great phone form factor, would actually work better as a phone than my current phone.

I would not count on E911 working without additional software on the phone.
In the PHS8 command specification
PHS8 AT Command Specification said:
The GNSS engine also features E911 emergency call service. Supported via Control Plane there is no need to
control E911 service by AT commands or user intervention. Nevertheless, A-GNSS operation and On-Demand
Power Mode (ODP) will also improve the availability of location and time information for E911 emergency calls.
So it looks like it is automatic, but manually turning on other features will improve it.
 
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