New Zealand Proposes Allowing Emergency Services to Locate People at Risk
Monday, February 10, 2020 | Comments

New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards proposed extending the emergency caller location information service, implemented in 2017, to enable emergency services to more quickly locate people at risk of harm but who have not made a call to 1-1-1.

“I am satisfied that these changes will help our emergency services and search-and-rescue teams get to people more quickly, save more lives and reduce cost to the taxpayer,” he said. “However, unregulated, the proposed changes could enable the locating of almost any individual in the country at any time. While this is neither our intention, nor the intention of the agencies permitted to use the system, the technology required to deliver the extended system could be intrusive if misused. For this reason, I want to be quite clear about my expectations in respect of the extensions.”

The extensions, sought by emergency services, will allow the active collection and sharing of the location of any device believed to be in the possession of a person at risk. For example, this could include someone lost in a national park, kidnapped, or having indicated an intention to harm themselves or others. The current system relies on a 1-1-1 call and does not assist emergency services to actively search for a person who is at risk but has not made an emergency call.

Edwards invited members of the public and others with an interest in the proposals to make a submission by 28 February. More information is here.

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