U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-3rd Dist., today introduced the Kelsey Smith Act, which would require cell phone service providers to quickly release information about the location of a phone to law enforcement officers during an emergency.
The legislation is named for Kelsey Smith, who was abducted and murdered in June 2007. According to Yoder, it was four days between the time that Kelsey disappeared and when her cell phone information was released, and Kelsey was found.
Current law says service providers are allowed to release the location information, but it does not require them to do so.
Joining Yoder at a news conference this morning were Kelsey's parents, State Sen. Greg Smith and Missey Smith of Overland Park.
“My hope with introducing the Kelsey Smith Act is that we can create a national standard for safety and ultimately prevent a rape, or kidnapping, or murder," Yoder said.
"We want to make it clear for law enforcement officials to do their job as quickly as possible in these rare instances to prevent horrible crimes form happening, while still protecting the privacy of all cell phone users,” he said. “I applaud the work and effort of Greg and Missey to advocate for this legislation, and I’ll continue my efforts to work with my colleagues on the federal level to advance the Kelsey Smith Act.”
“The current rules state that cell information may be released by cell phone companies under federal law, but they are not required. The Kelsey Smith Act says that if it is an emergency situation, if there is the danger of loss of life, if there’s a situation where someone is in danger of serious bodily harm, then release the location information to law enforcement,” said Sen. Greg Smith.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., will formally introduce the Kelsey Smith Act in the U.S. Senate later today.