December 21, 2014

Rogers HTC Dream 911 Warning

Last night I received a text message from Rogers regarding an issue involving 911 calls. This screw up can only be described as HUGE! Rogers is informing all of their HTC Dream customers of an issue that does not allow 911 emergency calls to complete while the GPS receiver is enabled. Rogers asks that all customers turn off the GPS receiver, until further notice, so that all emergency calls complete by doing the following: On your phone go to Settings -> Location -> Uncheck “Enable GPS Satellite”.

The full text message is below:

Rogers/Fido service message: URGENT 911 Calls: Please disable GPS location on your HTC Dream device to ensure all 911 calls complete. HTC is urgently working on a software upgrade and we will provide details shortly so you can re-enable GPS.

Instructions: Select Menu – Select Settings – Select Location – Uncheck Enable GPS Satellite

Message de Rogers/Fido : URGENT – Appels 911 : Veuillez désactiver la localisation GPS sur votre appareil HTC Dream afin de vous assurer que tous les appels 911 soient acheminés. HTC développe le plus rapidement possible une mise à jour du logiciel et nous vous fournirons les détails sous peu afin que vous puissiez réactiver la fonction GPS.

Instructions : S̩lectionner Menu РS̩lectionner Param̩tres РS̩lectionner Location РD̩sactiver les satellites GPS

For the time being, Rogers has stopped all sales of the HTC Dream until the probem is resolved. This raises the question of how far this defect goes. Could it also affect all other HTC Dream users in other countries and G1 users, or is it just limited to Rogers. For such a large security issue it would be best to find out sooner rather than later.

@MatthewPatience



  • Andrew

    My rogers dream works fine, GPS is set to enabled, dialed 911 and told them it was just a test because Rogers put out a warning that 911 wouldn't work. I am unlocked on ATT's network with Cyanogen Mod though, so it's possible it's just with their stock 1.5?

    • http://www.iwantmyonepointsix.com mjschmidt

      Please don't call 911 to "test" it. My brother is a paramedic who works in dispatch as a 911 operator. You make his job (and the jobs of everyone else) harder, as well as putting other people at risk, but calling in when it is NOT an emergency! They do not have unlimited lines at 911 call centers, nor lots of extra time to answer calls like "testing 911".

      • Andrew

        I call to test 911 on every new line i install, it doesnt make their job harder at all you just announce this is a non emergency test. i have them verify the location the call is coming from so just in case we use it its not associated with the wrong address

        • Guest

          Idiot. (Andrew)

        • Guest1

          Andrew you are a tool. There are regions where there is manditory response. If you "test" your lines police must come.

          What would happen if someone was being robbed or worse, beaten, and their assailant said tell them it is a "test" or you die…. then what?

          • Guest

            You really need to understand how the 911 system works. You CANNOT get a busy signal on 911 lines-it will be re-routed. There are NO mandatory response areas where police MUST come-that's simply a lie, and a stupid one at that. The police would be everywhere if that were the case, as call centres get about 40% of their calls as non-emergent. A test call takes about 20 seconds-not enough time for anyone to get a busy signal, die or suffer in any way. If it was enough time, they'd have been dead before the call centre could have answered anyway.
            Grow up and think people

          • Guest
          • Stacey

            YOU really need to understand how the 911 system works. There have been incidents where individuals have gotten busy signals. Not all 911 systems are the same, not all call centres have a lot of lines available. I remember a story about a child in Calgary who died due to his family not being able to get through to 911 for about 15 minutes because it was busy.

            Busy happens. Trust me.

            Stacey (EMS systems monkey)

          • OPP officer

            There IS mandatory response with most, if not ALL, police forces, at least in Ontario. With the OPP if there is a 911 call, doesn't matter what the caller says the reason for the call is, police MUST respond, generally lights and siren (you never know whether its an emergency until you are there). This puts everyone at risk – the officer, who must drive well above the speed limit in all weather and traffic conditions, the other people – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians – using the road. __ And there are SO MANY non-emergency 911 calls for the stupidest reasons, yet we still have to attend the address where the phone is registered. __ We have a limited number of emergency lines, and if you tie them up with frivolous calls, other people who have genuine emergencies are not able to get their calls through. There is NO reason to dial 911 unless you are undergoing a life-threatening emergency and need police, fire or ambulance, or a combination of the three. __ Don't program 911 into your phone – either your cell phone or your home phone – as if you dial it in error, we still have to respond. What a waste of time when we have so much else to do.

          • John

            Thats not true though – I agree with what you are saying about everything except the mandatory respone. When I have made a mistake on our work phones and called 911 – as long as you apologise and make clear there is no emergency, they do not respond.
            Anyway, the couple of times I've done it – I've tried to get off the call as quickly as possible and its always by mistake, peoples lives are at risk every second so you should never clog up the lines with stupid test calls!

          • John

            Oh just to add – the mandatory response is only when you hang up and don't talk to them. Thats happened at work when someone else dialled 911 and immediately hung up (without even talking to the operator).

  • Bob

    Calling this a security issue is silly. I don’t see any mention of someone else being able to exploit it to gain access to your phone.

    Also, test-calling 911 is a no-no. I know that in Vancouver, the 911 provider says not to do it on their website.

  • guest

    It would be good to point out that currently Rogers has a limited time offer to upgrade to a magic from a Dream (2.1) for free.

    http://www.teleclick.ca/2010/01/rogers-wireless-l

    • http://twitter.com/MatthewPatience @MatthewPatience

      Yes, thanks for pointing that out, there have been previous articles on this. Apparently someone needs to read AndroidGuys more often! lol

  • guest

    link with phone number to call for dream -> magic upgrade

    http://mobilesyrup.com/2010/01/12/rogers-details-

  • guest

    that sounds terrible imagine you buy a new phone with rogers and you try to call 911 finding out that you're not able to i'm glad my provider doesn't have scary issues like that

  • ash

    this is why everyone moved to 1.6 and. was mentioned in tmo's ipgrade from 1.5

  • patricia

    got the same message. thought it was a bit weird that they didn't post anything on there website about it.

    i've got my new magic in the mail though, so i'm not to concerned about the problem.

  • TomB

    Andrew,

    Do not call the Primary Service Answering Point for 9-1-1 for a test. Just don’t. You have no idea what you are talking about.

    The emergency operators are busy and if, for instance, you got disconnected in one of these test calls before you could tell them it was a ‘test’, they’d *have* to dispatch a unit. They can’t ignore what might be a life threating call.

    Even if you aren’t, you are tying up an operator who could be saving someone’s life if they were free. They might have a few free cycles to talk to you or you might be distracting from something life or death.

    Don’t do it. And furthermore, if you do it and you annoy the authorities, there are significant fines they can levy upon you legally.

    I worked with police dispatching systems and particularly with 9-1-1 systems writing the software to make them work and I worked with a lot of police and dispatchers handling 9-1-1 calls during that period. People calling them for non-emergency stuff really do take time away from other critical calls.

    • Guest

      Andrew is a moron

  • plotor

    The issue won't affect 'other countries' because 'other countries' don't use 911 for emergency calls… Here our emergency numbers are 122 133 and 144…

  • Shame on Rogers

    Quite the little dilemma this is, if Rogers was a halfway decent company (They aren't), they'd immediately offer to replace the defective phones. Of course it's foolish to call 911 to verify if your phone is working as this definitely ties up their operators who need the lines free to help deal with real emergencies, but then what happens when YOU have a real emergency and can't dial 911, what do you do then? How do those phone owners test their phones once the change to settings has been made, they're supposed to "trust" Rogers that this will work on every phone? Shame on Rogers for not doing the right thing here, they should be publicly crucified for not dealing with this as a responsible company should! if I owned one of these phones, I'd be demanding they change the phone immediately for sure! Let Rogers deal with the fallout from this…

    • RePete in BC

      I think you're way off base here… Rogers should be crucified? Did they build the phone? Did they design the software? Is it verified that this problem is Rogers only? Maybe it's a Canadian 911 thing?

      Go ahead and vent your spleen on HTC if you wish… I think Rogers did exactly what they should have – informed everyone involved, working ASAP on a fix and offering free upgrades. What else should they do?

      Don't forget, HYC designs builds and supports the software of the phone.. Roger's just sells it.

      And no, I don't work for Rogers, not even in the communications business. I've been a customer of theirs (cell only) from 1991 – now (with a 3 year fiasco with Telus). For the most part, Rogers have been pretty good to me.

  • murman

    Re: test 911 calls. U need to be smarter than the plastic used to make your smart phone.

  • http://handytracker.eu Handy

    thanks for clarification

  • Foo

    Is this just 911, or the other *11 numbers too, like 411 (directory assistance), 311 (city services), or 611 (usually customer service for your cell phone)?

  • anonymouse

    Even if you say it's a "test", there is a chance they'll still send a response. They can't take the chance. You are beating up your spouse. Spouse picks up the phone to dial 911. You get the phone away from the spouse and silence the spouse. 911 operator answers and you say it's just a "test".

    Under no circumstances should you "test" 911. There is no such thing as a test with such an emergency service.

  • Bleh

    Heh.

    No, the police will *not* be dispatched, if you say it is a test.

    What’s wrong with you people?

    Just for starters, every PBX that is installed, must be final tested for 911 callouts. I have done such a final test for every Asterisk install I do.

    Typically, what one does is set 911 in a variable, such as $EMERG_NUM. For almost all of the testing, you set this number to your cell phone.

    You then test that your dialplan logic does indeed work. Most importantly, if all external lines are in use on the PBX, your logic needs to successfully drop existing calls, then wait a few seconds, then try 911.

    After all, if someone calls 911, existing calls need to die on the PBX.

    Anyhow, after all your testing is done, using your temporary number, you *MUST* then set your emergency number to 911… and test. You *must*.

    There is no if/and/or here. This is a final test, to determine that all your code is perfect, that there have been no typos, and so forth.

    On all of these final test calls that I have done (15 or so), I’ve never had a complaint, or any silliness like stated above. I’ve also had a case where a code issue, did cause the call to not go through.

    Any idea what would have happened, if that went live, and an emergency occurred?

    Yes, people, 911 must be tested.

    • Tico

      Here here I agree with you 911 must be tested. I would be very angry if my love ones used 911 in an emergency and it did not work. Some one must have trued 911 on the Roger's network and found out it idi not work.

    • OPP officer

      Who knows what you are talking about? Again, there IS mandatory response with most, if not ALL, police forces, at least in Ontario. With the OPP if there is a 911 call, doesn't matter what the caller says the reason for the call is, police MUST respond, generally lights and siren (you never know whether its an emergency until you are there). This puts everyone at risk – the officer, who must drive well above the speed limit in all weather and traffic conditions, the other people – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians – using the road. __ And there are SO MANY non-emergency 911 calls for the stupidest reasons, yet we still have to attend the address where the phone is registered to check on the safety and well-being of there occupants there-in. __ We have a limited number of emergency lines, and if you tie them up with frivolous calls, other people who have genuine emergencies are not able to get their calls through. There is NO reason to dial 911 unless you are undergoing a life-threatening emergency . __ Don't program 911 into your phone as if you dial it in error, we still have to respond, again, to verify your safety. What a colossal waste of time when we have so much else to do.

    • ltrodt

      can you really be that ignorant and still work in the telephony field?

  • ulol

    if you are really concerned about your phone regarding 911…. i guess the best way is find out first the local police or PSAP number and book an appointment that you want to make a 911 test call

  • Bill

    I don't have GPS turned on anyway. I don't feel like charging my phone 3 times a day. So no issue for me.

  • reason

    I think the point here is: don't test 911 unless you work in telephony and it's actually your job to do so.

  • OPP officer

    To Bleh: there may be some discretion when a 911 call is received from a facility that manufactures/produces phones/sells cell phones, etc, when the caller indicates the reason for the call is testing, and the address and facility may be verified, but we have none of those in our area, ergo we respond to EVERY 911 call.

  • jc

    Can’t you call your Mom …. “Mom, can you hear me…? Thanks lots of luv, bye.”

    Mom is the best technician I know.

  • ihaterogers

    F*** Rogers!

  • anakin78z

    T-Mobile G1: Called 911 just the other day when there was an accident in front of my house, so we seem to be ok in the US.

    Also, y'all have a great imagination when it comes to how 911 works. Next time you dial 911, expect sharks to fall out of the sky, with lasers strapped to their heads. Friggin lasers!

  • OPP officer

    There IS mandatory response with most, if not ALL, police forces, at least in Ontario. With the OPP if there is a 911 call, doesn't matter what the caller says the reason for the call is, police MUST respond, generally lights and siren (you never know whether its an emergency until you are there). This puts everyone at risk – the officer, who must drive well above the speed limit in all weather and traffic conditions, the other people – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians – using the road. And there are SO MANY non-emergency 911 calls for the stupidest reasons, yet we still have to attend the address where the phone is registered to check on the safety and well-being of there occupants there-in. We have a limited number of emergency lines, and if you tie them up with frivolous calls, other people who have genuine emergencies are not able to get their calls through. There is NO reason to dial 911 unless you are undergoing a life-threatening emergency and you require police, fire or ambulance. Period. Don't program 911 into your home or cell phone. If 911 is dialled in error, we still have to respond, again, to verify your safety. What a colossal waste of time when police have so much else to do.

  • TheSource

    I bought a Dream retail to use on Fido after checking with both Rogers and Fido that I could use it on Fido.

    I spoke with Rogers and they told me I wasn't eligible to swap with the Magic, but that I should speak with Fido.

    I called Fido, and they told me they don't support any HTC phone.

    Time to put the pressure back on to get at the open source for this thing so that the community of users stuck with it can fix it!

  • Matt J.

    Who was it who said, “information at the speed of light”? This thread has illustrated “MISinformation at the speed of light”:(

    We really should believe ‘OPP officer” when he tells us that by law, the Ontario Police must respond. But that is a pretty stupid law, as all the examples he gives of non-emergency calls illustrates.

    Fortunately, such a law does not seem to exist in US jurisdictions. Unfortunately, response time can be pathetically slow. I once had to wait 8 rings while being threatened by a criminal idiot experiencing road rage. That is too long for a person to be left hanging in a life-threatening situation.

    Random individuals should not ‘test’ 911 on their phones. That responsibility belong to the engineers who develop the phone, who have procedures much like that described by ‘Bleh’, a procedure that minimizes the risk of interfering with 911 dispatching.

    What if I am worried that my phone won’t work when I need to call 911? This is what legal liability is for: is is MAJOR lawsuit material if a phone fails to make an emergency call, and the phone manufacturers and carriers know this VERY well.

    There must have been a lot of egg on their faces at Rogers. People might lose their jobs over this one.

  • Simarvelous

    What I would like to know is why are Dream owners being asked to extend their contract by another 5 or 6 months when you upgrade to the Magic? If it is a 991 or software issue where the phone will no longer be supported, why doesn't Rogers just upgrade the phones for free, like they are doing, but WITHOUT CHANGING THE LENGTH OF YOUR CONTRACT!!!! This just makes me think that Dream users are being used again……for more money!

  • Justin

    The HTC Dream to Magic promotion came out before the 911 thing was found out. I don't understand why people are blaming the SERVICE PROVIDER and not the PHONE MANUFACTURER who built, designed and support the phone in question. Some people just like to blame Rogers for stuff that isn't their fault. And what the hell does "… Dream users are being used again… for more money!" mean? Seriously? Used again? Common man, get a grip on yourself and take your tin foil hat off, please.

  • http://twitter.com/adrianhensler @adrianhensler

    People are blaming Rogers (the service provider) because they were apparently told of the issue in _September_. If they (Rogers, the service provider) had provided updates for the OS as they should, this would have been fixed in 1.6.

    See here at howardforums for more:
    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1612

  • D-Rock

    You seriously think that Rogers is at fault for not writing an update for the HTC products on their network? The software is carrier specific so if you want to blame someone, blame HTC.

  • bobthecoder

    Today I installed the patch. Rogers screwed the patch release up royally!!. The instructions say your phone will be ready to use after the "30 minute" patch process. This is incorrect, as you need internet access in order to sign into your phone. And of course you can't sign into your phone until they re enable your internet, which can take up to 24 hours. So you can't use your phone at all for 24 hours (calls or internet or do play MP3's or anything). So don't plan on making anything but Emergency Calls (ironic) for 24 hours after you've installed the new ROM. Pretty heavy handed way of dealing with users, forcing them to update their phone "or else we'll take your internet away". You'd think they would have tested out their procedures before launching into this. If the instructions were correct you could plan on not using your phone for 24 hours but you launch into this procedure thinking OK, this is only going to take 30 minutes and I'll be up and running with phone and internet in 30 minutes.
    I'll be asking not only for a 30 day internet credit which they are providing, but also a months phone credit for taking away my ability to make any phone calls or use my phone for 24 hours in any way, apart from the hammer function. I hope some project manager minion at Rogers gets fired for overlooking such a major piece of information. And why does it take 24 hours to cycle you back on to active internet again. Couldn't they have updated that batch process, to say hourly until most users have updated their ROM. I agree, this is better than sending the phone away, but what a poorly managed process! Pricks!

    • bobthecoder

      OK, it works now. Maybe I caught the refresh cycle. I did take the battery out and reboot and now it finds the Data network!. Yippee. Only 4 hours process, not 24 hours!

  • http://www.cyberlawfacts.com Cyber Law Facts

    I agree such law does not exist under US jurisdiction. Its really important to have 911 working on any technology. It's just too important of a service to have not work for obvious reasons. Indeed, people may lose their jobs over a debacle like this one , especially is someone gets hurt.

  • http://www.athletespharmacy.net/ clenbuterol

    Who knows what you are talking about? Again, there IS mandatory response with most, if not ALL, police forces, at least in Ontario. With the OPP if there is a 911 call, doesn’t matter what the caller says the reason for the call is, police MUST respond, generally lights and siren (you never know whether its an emergency until you are there). This puts everyone at risk – the officer, who must drive well above the speed limit in all weather and traffic conditions, the other people – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians – using the road. __ And there are SO MANY non-emergency 911 calls for the stupidest reasons, yet we still have to attend the address where the phone is registered to check on the safety and well-being of there occupants there-in. __ We have a limited number of emergency lines, and if you tie them up with frivolous calls, other people who have genuine emergencies are not able to get their calls through. There is NO reason to dial 911 unless you are undergoing a life-threatening emergency . __ Don’t program 911 into your phone as if you dial it in error, we still have to respond, again, to verify your safety. What a colossal waste of time when we have so much else to do.