The second emergency situation that has embraced the use of social media is Next Generation 911 (NG911). This week the FCC announced an initiative to advance the 911 emergency calling services to include texting, data, photos and video. The objective is to enable younger people to use the means of communication that they find most effective and to improve the content of the information sent to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Given the sometimes graphic nature of the calls we hear replayed as news, I can only imagine what kinds of photos and videos will be sent to the PSAPs. Usage guidelines are to be developed to manage the information. However, many will use the current Freedom of Information Act to attain some of the more gruesome or salacious material. Ultimately, this will be an issue decided in the courts. Because if they gain access to it, we know they will figure out a way to distribute it. The FCC clearly sees this potential problem and includes the requirement to develop a NG911 governance framework as noted in the press release issued by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
It is ironic that as one country examines how to put restrictions on using IP communications during an emergency, another seeks to unleash it.
See you on Monday!