Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210243018) for “data encryption for emergency response” on an iPhone.
About the patent filing
The patent filing involves cryptographic techniques to secure user data. More specifically, it’s for techniques to enable the delivery of encrypted user data to emergency responders.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that when a user of a mobile device calls emergency services, the emergency services dispatcher may not be able to determine the specific location of the mobile device. Some emergency service providers may be able to query a wireless carrier associated with the mobile device to determine a location for the device.
However, the location determined by the wireless carrier may be a cell tower-based location, which is a coarse location determination with significant margin for error. Apple wants to overcome such limitations for iPhone users.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s the abstract of the patent filing: “Embodiments described herein provide a method on a mobile electronic device to facilitate the transmission of encrypted user data to a service provider, such as an emergency service provider. An encrypted data repository stores user data to be transmitted to the service provider. A key to decrypt the encrypted data repository is wrapped using a key associated with a publicly trusted certificate for the service provider. In response a request received at the mobile device to initiate an emergency services request, the mobile device can transmit the encrypted data repository and wrapped cryptographic material to a server that is accessible by the service provider.”