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Technology & Innovation

Ping Data ‘Required’

Should we pass laws requiring phone companies to pass on location co-ordinates of cell phones to emergency response teams?

If one of four bills floating in the House is passed mobile phone companies will have to immediately turn over the device’s location data in the case of emergency or a missing person report, according to Wired. It says that current laws “allow” rather than “require” such data – known colloquially as ping data – to be passed onto the response teams without a court warrant. There are pros and cons to such Big Brother style surveillance, it says: “The latest measures, which are basically the same to a varying degree, are in response to the Kelsey Smith murder in 2007. The 18-year-old girl of Kansas was kidnapped in 2007 and her body was found four days later in a nearby wooded area. She was discovered 45 minutes after Verizon released ping data from her cell phone, after days of haggling between Verizon and the authorities over whether the company must provide the information.”


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