WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) joined U.S.
Senators Pat Roberts (Kan.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), and Deb Fischer (Neb.) in
introducing the Kelsey Smith Act. The bill, named for 18-year-old Kelsey Smith
who was abducted and murdered in 2007, would strengthen law enforcement’s
ability to lawfully and quickly access cell phone location information, or ping
information, when a person is abducted and their life is threatened.
“The Smith family endured a horrific tragedy that
was made even more agonizing by the delay in finding their daughter, Kelsey,”
said Blunt. “The Kelsey Smith Act will give law enforcement a vital tool in
their efforts to find and save the lives of kidnapping victims. This bipartisan
bill, which takes a narrowly crafted approach to balancing privacy concerns and
law enforcement needs, will bring federal law in line with the laws that are
already on the books in Missouri and 22 other states. I urge my Senate
colleagues to join us in honoring Kelsey by getting this bill to the
The Kelsey Smith Act would expedite the search for
missing persons by requiring cell phone carriers to provide limited cell phone
data to law enforcement in the case of an emergency. The bill creates a very
limited exception that protects individuals’ privacy rights and addresses
carriers’ liability concerns. Law enforcement agencies were unable to locate
Kelsey Smith for four days following her abduction due to red tape that
prevented them from accessing her cell phone location data. After they obtained
the data, Kelsey’s body was found within 45 minutes.
August 2012, Missouri became the eighth state to enact Kelsey’s Law. A total of
23 states have enacted similar laws. The Kelsey Smith Act would create a
uniform law across the country.