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Emergency Location Information Is Set For Not Invading Privacy Anymore, Hopefully At Federal Level


The Kelsey Smith Act is hopefully becoming federal law. I am unfortunately not a legal specialist. The issue here is ‘Are there enough privacy protections built in this becoming federal Act, in case of false or illegal emergency requests?’ this is debatable. The following link explains more. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/s466/summary

“18-year-old Kelsey Smith was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in June 2007 outside a shopping mall in Overland Park, Kansas… Smith’s body was found within 45 minutes of authorities accessing her cell phone’s location data, but it took four days after her disappearance before Verizon provided that location data to authorities in the first place. ”

Verizon cited consumer privacy, “noting that only customers themselves are supposed to be able to access their data unless a court order demands access.” Therefore, wireless carriers cannot disclose the caller’s location to a third party, including law enforcement, without a court order. It does make sense.

“Smith’s parents Greg and Missey embarked on a campaign for states to require cell phone carriers hand over location data in an emergency situation, starting with their home state of Kansas in 2009. According to an updated tally maintained by the Kelsey Smith Foundation, 27 states have enacted the legislation since, from red states like Alabama and Wyoming to blue states like Hawaii and Oregon.” That is a remarkable achievement to prevent incidents that happened to victims like Kelsey. Yet,  there are odds of passage to become a federal law. “The bill has been introduced in every Congress since 2009, always by a representative or senator from Kansas. The closest it came to passage was reported out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2013, though it never received a vote in the full chamber. It has not yet received a favourable committee vote in either chamber.” 

Could any legal experts in this professional field verify the FCC’s dispatchable location mandates?  For an indoor emergency call, there will be a much bigger catch! Because, We spend 87% of our life inside a ‘shelter,’ i.e. a building. https://snowbrains.com/brain-post-much-time-average-american-spend-outdoors/; and, “An estimated 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. each year. In many areas, 80% or more are from wireless devices.”  https://www.nena.org/page/911Statistics 

For far too long, precise indoor emergency location information has been a huge missing piece of the 911 dispatchable location puzzle.