The European Union’s top court ruled on Thursday that mobile phone operators must hand over data and enable the localization of calls made to the international emergency number 112.
Police, ambulance and fire services must also be able to track the physical location of a caller who has dialled 112 regardless of whether the phone has a SIM card.
The judges ruled that where technically possible, the transmitted information must be enough to “reliably and accurately” locate the person calling.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg made the decision to impose a tracking system of mobile networks after a lawsuit was filed by the family of a teenage girl in Lithuania who was violently raped and murdered.
In September 2013, the 17-year-old had made 10 desperate calls to 112 begging for help but her number did not show in the call answering centre, preventing her from being located.
Consequently, the child was raped and burnt alive in the trunk of a car after she was kidnapped in the Lithuanian city of Panevezys.
The girl’s family later sued the Lithuanian state for failing to implement EU rules under which member states must ensure that the caller’s location is transmitted, free of charge, with any 112 call. The case was then taken to the ECJ.