Texas A&M Law Review

Document Type



The Kelsey Smith Act mandates cell phone carriers to release locational information of their subscribers to law enforcement officials in emergency situations in the absence of a warrant. Further, the Act releases said carriers from liability when the aforementioned requests are made. Currently, nine states have enacted the Kelsey Smith Act. Prior to the existence of the Act, the carriers were required to make a good faith assessment of the emergency as well as the subsequent request by law enforcement officials. The Kelsey Smith Act is an attempt to create a more efficient means of accommodating the operational needs of law enforcement in times of emergency without improperly infringing on individuals’ privacy rights.

This Comment aims to analyze the implications associated with the enacted legislation of the states that have adopted versions of the Kelsey Smith Act. More specifically, this Comment will examine whether privacy concerns are proper in light of the Act or whether they are without merit. In doing so, this Comment will provide relevant historical and background information associated with electronic communication; an examination of the most recent arguments disfavoring the Act; and a discussion of whether the operational needs of law enforcement have been properly balanced with cell phone service subscribers’ individual privacy rights as provided by the United States Constitution.



First Page


Last Page


Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.