Of privacy and cooperation

Melissa relayed a story from the news to me at lunch the other day:

A SUV was stolen from the driveway of a couple. And as an extra bonus the thief managed away with the couple’s 10-mth old strapped in the back seat … along with the couples’ cell phone. (They had just stepped back inside to grab their other child.)
Horrified the parents reported the situation and the police contacted the cell phone company for a trace of the GPS signal from the phone. The phone company refused stating it was against company policy. An Amber Alert was issued and the vehicle was found about a mile away by a by-stander who noticed the young child in the back.
The cell phone company, Sprint-Nextel, stated that it was a miscommunication. That there are procedures in place (which typically takes about 15 minutes) for just such circumstances. This time it took 2.5 hours … without any results or cooperation from Sprint. Though such cooperation has worked in the past
Read more: All Headline New or KTLA

We understand the protection or privacy concerns … but how do you feel about this situation? Personally, I think someone is looking for a new job today.
Update: The Amber Alert was not the cause of the vehicles discovery, just a measure of how far the process had gone.

5 thoughts on “Of privacy and cooperation

  1. I think you’re likely right. There’s the PR-face of the company, and then there’s reality. Personally I am amazed how quickly the Amber Alert found the vehicle. I’m not sure Canada has anything like it.

  2. I don’t think the Amber Alert was necessarily what “cause” the discovery … if I understand it right, a person just found the car – saw the baby and said “thats not right”! However, I imagine that the Amber Alert helped the police respond to the situation a little faster.
    The point really was that it had gone that far in procedure, the Sprint still was refusing to assist.

  3. The quote certainly makes it sound like the Amber Alert was instrumental.
    Ah, I see your point now — how on earth was it miscommunicated for 2.5 hours? Good question.

  4. I would certainly hope that not just anybody can call my cell phone company and get a GPS location on me (truth is that nobody cares where I am that badly except for that one psycho girl…). I am assuming that the person from Sprint could have asked certain privacy questions and determined that in fact they were speaking to the owner of the cell phone, in which case I don’t see why Sprint would have a problem with the owner of the phone calling for the location of their own property. Very interesting.