Rumpelstiltskin was a goblin in a fairytale. The theme of his story was to not be greedy, don’t lie, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Rumpelstiltskin himself was greedy.
The reality is when it comes to the funds allocated for an outdated 911 system, the government is very much like a Rumpelstiltskin.
Below will explain how the story goes.
Two republicans, Anna Eshoo and Micheal Doyle conducted a Scripps News Investigation in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee requesting a hearing. “We are concerned by the state of our nations outdated 911 emergency infrastructure” the two stated. With 911 being outdated, it puts the system at risk of being hacked into, allowing possible cyber attacks throughout the nation. “It’s a matter of life or death, and they can hasten death by their hacking” Eshoo said in an interview.
The Scripps News Investigation reported that the 911center, that is now vulnerable to attacks, have their calls travel through a infrastructure that is decades old, while the fees that could pay for upgrading the system have been used for non-911 purposes by multiple states.
For example, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said the congressional district in rural Illinois has suffered and is struggling to provide basic 911 communications.
Americans pay taxes with the assumption that their local government will use that money to better their safety and communities. Congress members, like Marsha Blackburn, have addressed the issue of money being diverted. It’s said to be too easy for members to ignore this problem and instead they say, “Oh, I’m not gonna bother with that. I have other fish to fry. Why upset my governor?” “By continuing to divert funds designated for public safety, states risk putting American lives in jeopardy” states representative John Skimkus of Illinois.
Public awareness and public pressure on state legislators is the reality of a more quick and effect way to deal with the 911 fee diversion in the short term. Eshoo and Doyle mentioned in their letter that “By early 2018, the federal government is expected to begin awarding state and local governments, matching grants to transition their 911 emergency systems to next generation systems”.
“The Federal Government has little direct authority over how local and state governments collect and spend 911 fees” Eshoo said.
A Scripps analysis of the FCC, Federal Communications Commision, shows that two dozen or more states have diverted more than $1 Billion from 2008 - 2015, with some states being repeat offenders. The states did not provide detailed information to the FCC. Reports also show that from 2009 - 2015, the state of Illinois collected $659 Million from 911 fees and diverted $93 Million for other purposes and this problem has been allowed for years. “Sadly, this dishonest activity goes largely undetected by the public” states Shimkus.
A partnership between Nextgen 911 and Justifeyed would create an incredible source of safety and protection nationwide. The current 911 system was never intended to receive calls and data via text or video messaging so the system is in need of a significant overhaul, which Justifeyed and NextGen would benefit from doing together. Both applications offer digital information such as, voice, photos, videos, and text messages to the 911 system, and to emergency responders. The piece missing is what Justifeyed can offer and that is live video feed and face to face communication. While being able to record and then send video is useful, what happens between the time you take the video and send it? Users need to be able to show dispatchers AND emergency personnel what’s happening as it happens, not after. Saving valuable time is tremendously important in an emergency situation, and this can be done by implementing today’s technology of digital information, into an upgrade of the 911 system.
With Justifeyed and NextGen all calls will be answered even if there is an overload, power outage or natural disaster, in turn providing more ways to access 911. Together we can provide the most accurate information to emergency services which allows them to save more lives, and do their jobs more effectively. Now is the time to get emergency services, legislators, 911, and the community to play their part to upgrade, and bring together Justifeyed and NextGen911 to start saving lives.