Congressman Kevin Yoder today introduced the Kelsey Smith Act for the 113th Congress. Rep. Yoder was joined at a press conference this morning by Kelsey Smith's parents, Kansas State Senator Greg Smith and Missey Smith of Overland Park. The legislation is named for the Smith's daughter Kelsey, who was abducted and murdered in June 2007. It was four days between the time when Kelsey disappeared and when her cell phone location information was released, and Kelsey was found. The legislation would require cell phone service providers to quickly release the location information of a specific phone to law enforcement officials during the rare occurrences of an emergency, such as a kidnapping. Current law states service providers are allowed to release the location information, but does not require them to do so.
"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. 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," stated Congressman Yoder. "I applaud the work and effort of the 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.
Senator Pat Roberts will formally introduce the Kelsey Smith Act in the U.S. Senate later today.