Sunday, February 05, 2012

Pinging mobile phones

Pinging mobile phones


Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 392, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 392.415, to read as follows:

392.415. 1. Upon request, a telecommunications carrier shall provide call location information concerning the user of a telecommunications service, including a wireless telecommunications service, in an emergency situation to a law enforcement official or agency in order to respond to a call for emergency service by a subscriber, customer, or user of such service, or to provide caller location information (or do a ping locate) in an emergency situation that involves danger of death or serious physical injury to any person where disclosure of communications relating to the emergency is required without delay.

2. No cause of action shall lie in any court of law against any telecommunications carrier or telecommunications service, or its officers, employees, agents, or other specified persons, for providing any information, facilities, or assistance to a law enforcement official or agency in accordance with the terms of this section.

Relevant Chapter 392 where section 392.415 would be placed

Background to this Bill Enactment
A House Committee has heard testimony on a bill that would clear the way for cell phone companies to provide cell phone location information to law enforcement in certain missing persons cases.

The language of House Bill 1108 has been introduced three previous times in Missouri, and has been passed out of the House but never out of the Senate. It would require companies to locate, or “ping” a cell phone, when law enforcement requests that information in emergencies in which a missing person is in danger of serious physical injury or death. It also protects cell phone companies from being sued for providing that information under the guidelines of the bill.

Missey and her husband, Greg Smith, are proponents of the bill commonly named for their daughter Kelsey, who was kidnapped from Overland Park, Kansas and found murdered in southern Jackson County in 2007.

Greg, now a legislator in Kansas, says if such language had been law then Kelsey might have been saved. “June 2, 2007 was the night she went missing and she was found four days later … Once that information was released by the cell phone company it only took forty-five minutes to recover her body.” A former police officer, he adds, “If you can get that kind of response in a missing person case, that’s just absolutely light years ahead of what we’re doing right now.”

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