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Denise Grimsley files bill to allow 911 call tracking

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A new bill filed Thursday morning would allow law enforcement and public safety agencies to track the location of emergency calls.

The bill – SB 674 by Sen. Denise Grimsley – would provide that under certain circumstances, mobile telephone service providers turn over a user’s location.

Specifically, service providers “must furnish call location information for the user of a telecommunications device on the covered service’s network to the law enforcement agency or the public safety answering point, as appropriate,” according to the new measure.

The bill is intended to help law enforcement agencies respond to distressed callers, in case they are unable to provide adequate information to locate themselves.

Under Grimsley’s new proposal, service providers must release a user’s location to law enforcement or public safety agency reporting to law enforcement in cases where there is an “emergency involving risk of death or serious physical injury; or in order to respond to the telecommunications device user’s call for emergency services.”

The bill prevents legal action being taken against a service provider for furnishing a user’s location when they do so in “good faith.”

SB 674 requires a 48-hour window in which a law enforcement or public safety agency must request a court order determining whether it had probable cause to think that the necessary conditions under the new law existed at the time of the request.

Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, chairs the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities panel that will likely consider the proposal.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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