When you are experiencing an emergency, you call 911. In that moment, the only thing that you may be concerned with is receiving help. But, after receiving the help you needed, you may start to replay the experience in your mind. Often times, you are left wondering whether the information that the 911 operator automatically had about your call is secure, and whether the call itself is secure. Privacy is important, so these are valid concerns. Here is what you need to know about 911 and your privacy.
What Type of Information Does a 911 Operator Receive When You Call 911?
The information that a 911 operator receives when you call 911 varies based on whether you are using a landline or cell phone, and who the provider is. As a general rule of thumb, an operator will receive your specific location when you are dialing from a landline, as well as who the number is registered to. Cell phone technology is rapidly evolving and the information provided to a 911 operator may help them determine your approximate location and who your cell phone is registered to.
How Can You Help a 911 Provider Receive More Information?
There are programs out there, such as Smart911, that can help you create a specific profile that is displayed to a 911 operator if you ever need to call. This information can be invaluable in certain situations. For example, if you have a medical condition, you can create a profile that explains to a 911 operator exactly what your medical condition is in the event of an emergency. Or, if you have a restraining order or fear domestic violence, you can input that information. Then, if you call 911, the 911 operator can see that there may be a domestic situation that you cannot verbally convey to the operator.
Is Your Information Secure When Using 911 or Smart911?
Your information is extremely secure when you are using 911 or programs such as Smart911. These types of providers know that this is personal and confidential information. As such, they utilize technology infrastructure that is designed to prevent the information from being hacked or accessed from anyone who should not be accessing the information. These types of systems also hire security professionals to help create safeguards and secure systems.
Are 911 Calls Public Record?
911 calls are generally public record. As such, they can be made publicly available. However, confidential information, including medical conditions, may be blocked out from the recordings. The recordings may also be kept private if there is an ongoing criminal investigation that releasing the tapes may impede upon. It is also important to note that many states are beginning to implement laws regarding privacy and 911 calls, due to the sensitive nature of the calls. Some states are beginning to require court orders and/or signed consent from the caller in order to release 911 calls publicly to help provide the privacy of those who call and to shield families from having life-altering calls released to the public.
Every county is the country utilizes a different administrator for their 911 calls. Montgomery County Emergency Communication District (MCECD) provides the administration of the communications and technology infrastructure of the 9-1-1 system within Montgomery County, Texas. We are committed to keeping your information safe and we take steps to ensure our infrastructure is secure.