News : Top EU Court Imposes Emergency Call Tracking after Violent Crime
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Sept, 2019 -- Police, fire and ambulance services must be able to track the physical location of a caller who has dialled the 112 emergency number - irrespective of whether the phone has a SIM card - the European Union's top court ruled on Thursday (Sept 5), following a violent crime in Lithuania.
In September 2013, a teenage girl in the city of Panevezys was kidnapped, raped and burnt alive in the boot of a car.
She called the emergency number 10 times to seek help, but her location was not picked up by the call centre, preventing her from being found.
Her close relatives later sued the Lithuanian state for failing to implement EU rules under which member states must ensure that the caller's location is transmitted, free of charge, with any 112 call.
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The case was escalated to the European Court of Justice.
The EU-wide emergency number can be dialled from landlines and mobile phones, even if they do not contain a SIM card.
The Luxembourg-based judges found that the rules in question apply to every 112 call, even if the phone does not contain a SIM card.
Where technically possible, the transmitted information must be sufficient to "reliably and accurately" locate the person calling.
In the Lithuanian case, it was unclear whether the phone contained a SIM card or whether other reasons prevented the call from being tracked.
The court further found that if there is a direct causal link between the state's failure to fully implement EU law and any harm incurred as a result, the member state can be held liable.
The case now reverts to the Lithuanian courts for a final verdict.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 9, 2019
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