The ACT's emergency services will soon roll out upgrades to their dispatch systems that are set to improve response times to triple-0 calls.
Both ACT Policing and the Emergency Services Agency will complete upgrades of their systems with the deployment of advanced mobile location (AML) technology for triple-0 calls.
An ESA spokesperson said the technology "significantly improves location information provided to services in an emergency event".
"This will aid our call takers and dispatchers in ensuring timely responses by our services to emergency incidents," the spokesperson said.
The introduction of AML was announced by the federal government last December.
It is a technology built into the operating systems of Apple and Android phones to provide greater location accuracy to services during an emergency call from that phone.
AML will typically take about 25 seconds or less to calculate the caller's location - using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile network information - before sending it as an SMS to triple-0.
When the call is finished, AML will be deactivated and the SMS will no longer be retrievable.
An ACT Policing spokesperson said they would implement AML following ESA.
They said the upgrade was part of normal operations and did not incur additional costs.
ACT Policing's Detective Acting Superintendent Stephen Ladd said this information was critically important for emergency services when responding to triple-0 calls.
"If someone is calling to report an emergency from an unfamiliar location, or if they are having difficulty communicating, this expanded capability will display the caller's location to the operator," he said.
"This will save time and in an emergency situation. Seconds count."
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications conducted a privacy impact assessment for AML and approved it last November.
In April, the Commonwealth ombudsman released a report that found ACT Policing had made multiple privacy breaches for not complying with its use of location-based services under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.
The territory's police complied with the proper procedures to access location-based data, known as "pings", nine out of more than 1700 times in 2015-19, with compliance issues going back to 2007.
The ACT's chief police officer Neil Gaughan at the time said all eight of the ombudsman's recommendations would be accepted, acknowledging "poor internal processes meant the administration of these [location-based data access] powers were not up to community expectations".
"And my expectation is that we do better," he said.
The AML privacy impact assessment stated the department and mobile operating system providers would not handle AML data or store it.
Under Section 107G of the act, mobile carriers may be required by a law enforcement agency to retain SMS messages, including SMS messages containing AML data.
A police spokesperson said the location data was "only a snapshot of the location at the time of the call".
"It's important to note that voice recording, location and subscriber data have exemptions under privacy legislation and telecommunications laws for all triple-0 emergency calls," the spokesperson said.
"If AML data must be recorded during an emergency triple-0 call, it is captured within ACT Policing's computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. Only members with access to CAD or have involvement with the specific incident would have access at the time of call. While operations sergeants have the ability to retrieve the data after the call has concluded through secured networks, all access is user-based controlled and audited."
Police and ESA said the community should not notice any disruption during the upgrade as there were measures in place "to ensure the robustness of the triple-0 emergency call system".
The mobile location technology upgrade was completed for ESA on May 11 but is undergoing testing with Telstra before it takes effect.
The federal government said AML meets all the regulated requirements for privacy and that access to location data is restricted to authorised officers at triple-0 and emergency service organisations.
Data access will be audit trailed and logged.
Android users are able to turn off AML within their handset via their device settings.
AML is a collaboration between the federal government, Telstra, emergency service organisations in every state and territory, other mobile carriers and phone operating system providers (Google and Apple).
Privacy Impact Assessment
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