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Home > Privacy and Government > Government Threats to Privacy > Anti-Privacy Law and Regulation > E911


E911, or enhanced 911, is a Federal Communications Commission program requiring mobile phone services to be able to track and communicate the locations of users. Created for the obviously good purpose of helping authorities locate emergency callers, E911 also represents a significant threat to privacy in that it forces a location-tracking technology on mobile phone users.

The FCC has issued regulations requiring that 25% of all the handsets sold by December 2001 support location broadcasting, and 100 percent must by December 2002. By December 2005, 95 percent of all handsets in use must be able to broadcast location data.

In 1999, Congress passed the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, which amended privacy provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to allow location information to be used for this purpose.


E911 Web site, Federal Communications Commission

FBI Phone Tapping and Locating Cell Phones Making 911 calls: Is it Privacy or Paranoia? by Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld (January 15, 2001)

Comments? (Subject: E911)

[updated 02/22/01]

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