Mobile phone triangulation laws to be changed to help find ‘high risk’ missing people

Police and emergency services will be able to more regularly triangulate the cellphones of missing persons, who have been deemed “high risk” for damage due to changes to telecoms laws being rushed through Parliament by the federal government.

Currently, there must be a serious or imminent threat to a missing person’s life or health for authorities to use triangulation on their cell phones to pinpoint their location.

But in September, NSW’s Deputy Medical Examiner recommended that the Communications Secretary change the wording of the Telecoms Act 1997 to lower the bar, saying that triangulation “can be a matter of life and death”.

It was the second coronal exam in the state in two years.

The government changes will mean triangulation can take place if authorities believe it will help reduce the threat to a person’s life and health.

It is used in missing person cases and to assist emergency services in dealing with disasters.

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According to Michelle Rowland, the government believes the changes will speed up the response to missing persons.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

“These are crucial changes,” said Communications Secretary Michelle Rowland.

‚ÄúThis removes the requirement that the threat be ‘imminent’, as in many cases this requirement can be impossible to prove, including in missing persons cases.

“This Government believes in a timely response to matters affecting the safety of Australians.”

Change has the potential to save lives

In missing persons cases, the first three days are usually the most important and the legislative push was sparked by the disappearance and death of a 36-year-old man named CD in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The new father’s mental health had deteriorated significantly when he was last seen at 7:20am on Monday 17 June 2019.