US House Rejects Bill To Force Carriers To Disclose Phone Location

The U.S. House of Representatives voted May 23 not to force carriers to disclose a phone’s location to law enforcement in the event of an emergency. Lawmakers voted 229-158 to pass the Kelsey Smith Act, falling short of the two-thirds threshold necessary due to rules invoked to expedite the bill’s vote.

Civil liberties groups aggressively opposed the bill on Monday, arguing that while well intended, it would create a warrant loophole and could lead to expanded government surveillance.

The bill is named after a deceased 18-year-old Kansas woman who disappeared following a visit to a local Target store in 2007. Smith was found murdered four days later only after Verizon, her cell phone provider, shared the location of her phone with authorities, according to Representative Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican and author of the bill. Smiths’ parents were at the House chamber during the vote.

“While I’m disappointed in tonight’s outcome, I look forward to the bill being brought back to the House floor when a simple majority vote can get it passed.” Yoder said in a statement.