Cnet: location wiretapping on hold; T-Mobile to pay up for E911 delay

John Gilmore gnu at
Sun Jul 20 03:55:52 EDT 2003

The FCC is certainly turning Orwellian these days.  Now the firms
that it regulates are making "voluntary" contributions to the government
at the whim of the FCC.  Remember, these are the regulators who
sided totally with the FBI when it demanded that everything be designed
for wiretapping, even the stuff that was specifically not covered
in the statute passed by Congress.

But the good news is that none of the nationwide cellphone carriers
has yet deployed working technology for tracking the locations of
cellphones.  We may have a few months of freedom from permanent
location tracking left.  Time to go back to 1-way beepers, and only turn
on your cellphone when you get beeped.


*T-Mobile to pay up for E911 delay*

By Ben Charny 
<ben.charny at>

Staff Writer, CNET
July 18, 2003, 12:26 PM PT

*T-Mobile USA will pay a $1.1 million "voluntary contribution" to 
federal regulators for missing deadlines to make it possible for 
emergency call center operators to locate cell phones dialing 911.*

The carrier, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, also has agreed to a new, 
22-month deadline to meet the Federal Communications Commission's 
so-called E911 rules, according to the FCC.

All U.S. cell phone carriers have missed deadlines for a federally 
mandated schedule to make it possible for police to know the location of 
cell phones that call 911, something they can't do now. The FCC has 
asked AT&T Wireless <> 
and Cingular Wireless <> 
to make similar "contributions" to the agency's coffers.

Traditional landline phone providers complied to the E911 mandate 
<> several years ago. 
Emergency call centers credit their ability to locate a landline phone 
with saving the lives of those unaware of where they are or too injured 
or panicked to provide details. With more than half of all 911 calls now 
coming from cell phones, emergency call centers say they need the E911 
service more than ever.

T-Mobile representatives did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment.

The company has 22 months to begin clearing the backlog of requests for 
E911 service from emergency call centers. If not, it could be on the 
hook for more "voluntary" contributions, the FCC wrote in its order 
released Thursday.

T-Mobile switched to new E911 technology in March. According to the FCC 
report, the carrier is still determining if the technology is accurate 
enough <> to meet the 
agency's mandate. T-Mobile told the FCC it expects the technology will 
pass muster.

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