Should location be available to officials?

By Brent Jackson - Contributing columnist

Good afternoon,

I hope everyone is having a good week and looking forward to celebrating the 4th of July this upcoming weekend. This year is the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence! As we celebrate this weekend with fireworks, barbecue, and hopefully watermelons; I hope everyone takes a moment to remember the brave men and women who have served, and continue to serve, in the armed forces to protect our great nation. Again, I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday.

The Senate has passed the conference report for the finalized budget and the House hopes to do so by the end of the week.

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked your opinion about a bill that would allow drivers to turn left on red if they are turning onto a one way street. The majority of the responses received were against such legislation, and feel it would add more confusion to the roads. This is a new piece of legislation and we will continue to monitor it and see if it gains traction.

This week, I would like to get your opinion on a piece of legislation involving criminal law. There is a bill that has been that has been making its way through committee that would allow wireless service providers to provide call location information to law enforcement agencies that obtain a call location warrant from a judge or magistrate. This is known as the Kelsey Smith Act and is named after a young woman who was abducted in 2007 and it is believed that if the phone company could have provided her location via a cellphone “ping” she could have been saved. At this time, only the phone subscriber could immediately activate this. A law enforcement agency had to go through an issued court order to achieve this. This bill seeks to expedite the process for law enforcement officers to access crucial information that could help save a life in an emergency situation.

If the bill becomes law, the call location data that would be provided to the law enforcement agency would not include the contents of any communication that is made, but would include GPS information, triangulation, and per-call measurement data. This warrant will only be issued in cases where the law enforcement agency has evidence to believe that the telecommunications user is at imminent risk of death or serious physical harm, or is criminally involved in the imminent risk of death or serious physical harm to another. Do you feel that we should allow law enforcement agencies to more easily access such call location information in an emergency?

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you in any way possible.

Brent Jackson is a a state senator representing Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties.

By Brent Jackson

Contributing columnist

Brent Jackson is a a state senator representing Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties.

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