Spurred to action by the release of a 911 call about actress Demi Moore, California Assemblywoman Norma Torres (D-Pomona) has introduced a bill that would prohibit authorities from releasing the medical or any personally identifying information in such emergency phone calls.
Current California law prohibits the release of personal details, but AB 1275 is written to go even further as an exception to the California Public Records Act; it states:
The California Public Records Act requires state and local agencies to make public records available for inspection, subject to specified criteria, and with specified exceptions. The Warren-911-Emergency-Assistance Act provides a statewide system for the use of “911″ as the primary emergency telephone number.
This bill would prohibit a state or local agency from disclosing any portion of a 911 emergency telephone call providing medical or personal identifying information.
Before Torres was elected to the state legislature, she surely heard her share of gory details as an LAPD emergency dispatcher for nearly 20 years, and for her, the information contained in the 911 call related to Moore was just too much to be released to the public.
“Eyes rolling back, foaming at the mouth, bleeding from a body part – that’s nobody’s business but the medical personnel and the patient. I think it has crossed the line,” Torres is quoted as saying.
The bill is far from a slam dunk with the California legislature, however. Opponents insist that privacy laws on the federal level already handle some of Torres’ concerns and that 911 calls need more supervision, not even less.
On the other hand, proponents say that people would be more forthcoming on 911 calls if they have no fear of personal and medical information being released, and this, of course, is best for the person for whom the emergency call is being made.
What do you think about the release of information from 911 calls? Did the authorities release too much in Moore’s situation?