NC bill would give police ability to track your cellphone’s real-time location

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — In North Carolina, police are able to track your historical cellphone locations without a warrant, but a new bill would give officers greater oversight over where you are.

House Bill 213, would allow police across the state to track your real-time movements via your cellphone location with or without a warrant. The legislation would come into play when it comes to emergency response situations.

The bill would be known as a version of the “Kelsey Smith Act,” which requires wireless communication providers to provide call location information to law enforcement officials when responding to a call for emergency service or in an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm.

Smith was a teenager who was abducted in broad daylight from a department store and murdered on June 2, 2007. Some believe such legislation would have saved her life.

The bill ensures that professional law enforcement officials in the field, not a phone company, are able to determine if an individual is in an emergency situation. 

“Upon request of the highest-ranking person on duty for the law enforcement agency or a public safety answering point on behalf of a law enforcement agency, a wireless service provider shall provide call location data concerning the telecommunications device of a user to the requesting law enforcement agency or public safety answering point,” the bill reads.

The ability to bring a civil or criminal action against wireless service companies would not be allowed under this legislation if the provider acted in “good-faith reliance.”

All wireless service providers registered to do business in the State would be required to submit emergency contact information to the State Bureau of Investigation in order to facilitate requests from law enforcement agencies for call location data.

This information must be submitted annually by June 15 or immediately upon any change in emergency contact information, according to the bill.

If passed, the act would take effect on July 1.

Read the entire bill here.

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