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FCC looking into 911 calls from inactive handsets

Chris Ziegler

Asshats, jerkfaces, and garden-variety idiots have finally stirred the sleeping giant -- and though the FCC doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation of coming down hard on offenders, we can only hope something good happens here. All cellphones, tied to active accounts or otherwise, are required by law to be able to place calls to emergency services; by and large, that's a sound policy and something that's probably saved dozens of lives over the years. Sadly, though, folks have seen fit to abuse that capability, in some cases utterly overwhelming call centers and taking away service from others who genuinely need it. A number of states have banded together and formally asked the FCC to do something about it, and this is where it gets a little messy. Does the commish repeal the clause requiring access to 911? Sounds like the wrong move, but without any sort of account linkage, prank calls from inactive handsets are difficult at best to stop, simply because they can't be traced. There doesn't seem to be any guidance yet from the feds on exactly what action they may take -- and with an issue this tricky, we don't really expect action any time soon.

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