The FCC Wants You To...Text 911?

August 11, 2011

We're all about government actually getting on top of new technology. After all, with technology they can cut costs, improve services, and offer new and exciting ways to waste taxpayer money. On the other hand, sometimes it can be a bad thing.

Take, for example, the government's new 911 initiative, Next Generation 911. 911 already works on any cell phone, and in fact most cell phones have special chips that let police triangulate a 911 call and give them an exact location. Now, they want people to be able to send photos, videos, and texts, straight to 911.

To be fair, this is actually a neat idea in some respects. As camera phones improve, for example, someone on the scene could send photos of the injured, or send the police video of a crime in action. You know, instead of the usual method of posting them to YouTube and telling their friends about this awesome thing they saw.

Still, here's our question: do these people realize that once this system is implemented, 911 will be buried under dong photos? Seriously. Announce "911 is accepting picture messages" and see how many fourteen-year-olds stick their friends phone down their pants, take a picture and ship it off. Or somebody will send the wrong picture; we dread our mothers trying this. "Ma'am, why did you send us a blurry picture of what seems to be five women drinking cosmos in sweatshirts?"

Install some face recognition software, guys, and be ready to call those texters back.

Photo: Adrian Neal/Stone/Getty Images