Oct 222009
 
 October 22, 2009  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

David Kravets reports:

Mobile phone companies would have to immediately turn over location data to emergency responders to help them quickly track missing persons, if any one of the four bills floating in the House get traction.

The law already allows, but does not automatically require, phone companies to turn over ping data from cell towers in emergency situations absent court warrants. The proposals would require telcos to promptly hand over the information if authorities tell them that harm or death are imminent.

At first glance, one might think the bills are a slippery slope toward requiring telcos to release such information during any criminal investigation, even when there is no pending emergency. But the Obama administration has jumped feet first into that slippery slope, and is seeking such information, without a court warrant, in a pending drug case.

The latest measures, which are basically the same to a varying degree, are in response to the Kelsey Smith murder in 2007.

Read more on Threat Level.

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