Why Don’t You Want Your Watch to Call 911

The new Apple Watch can call emergency services if you fall and can’t get up. We previously reported that this feature is enabled for users aged 65 and over, but anyone can enable it. But regardless of your age, you must be aware of the legal implications: you let the police break into your home without a warrant, and in fact you may not want to.

The Fourth Amendment allows for the “community custody” exception , which means that the police can enter your home if they think you need emergency help. They can then confiscate anything in plain sight that looks like smuggling or evidence of crime, such as cannabis, if you are in a state where it is illegal, Ars Technica reports .

Most other security-focused apps and gadgets handle alerts a little differently: they notify your designated contacts – friends or family – and let them call 911 for you. ( For example , Wearsafe will put you in touch with emergency responders, but that call must initiate a contact.) Apple does the opposite : It calls emergency services and then sends a text message to your designated contacts.

Perhaps you have nothing to hide and are sure you never will; in this case, use this function with caution. (What if you’re in someone else’s house?) Otherwise, it’s worth considering whether this feature is actually the one you want to enable.


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