A horrific rape and murder of a kidnapped teen in Lithuania prompted the European Court of Justice on Thursday (5 September) to order mobile phone operators to hand over data enabling the localisation of calls made to the international emergency number 112.
The 17-year-old girl, who was abducted and burnt alive in the boot of a car in 2013, made 10 desperate calls to 112 begging for help. However her number did not show in the call answering centre, preventing her being located.
The girl’s family lodged a lawsuit, accusing Lithuania of failing to implement an EU directive requiring telecom operators to provide for free caller information to locate calls made to 112.
Thursday’s decision by the court ordered that all phone operators in the EU give that information. They must do so even for phones which do not have a SIM card inserted but which are still able to connect to the 112 service.
Currently eight of the EU’s 28 member states, among them France, do not allow phones without a SIM card to make 112 calls, according to the European Emergency Number Association.
In many cases, that was to prevent children playing with old mobile phones accidentally calling the emergency services number, it said.
The EU forms the core of the countries using 112 as an emergency number for mobile phones, originally offered on the GSM standard that Europe championed.
Later other countries adopted the number too, often alongside their own national emergency numbers, including Australia, China, India, Turkey and the United States.