Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erika Jonietz

NY Drops the E911 Call

A New York state audit has revealed that very little of the $440 million the state has collected in E911 taxes since 1991 has actually gone to pay for the equipment that would make it possible for 911 dispatchers to…

  • May 11, 2004

A New York state audit has revealed that very little of the $440 million the state has collected in E911 taxes since 1991 has actually gone to pay for the equipment that would make it possible for 911 dispatchers to locate cell phone callers in emergencies. Instead, the New York Times reports, the money has paid for everything from dry cleaning for the state police to homeland security, a catch-all that in New York includes spending on prisons and state parks. In fact, only about 12 cents of the $1.20 monthly fee that cell phone subscribers pay goes toward its ostensible purpose of developing a cellular 911 system. Given this diversion of funds, its hardly surprising that, as the Times story says, despite years of work, only a few counties are currently able to locate cellphone callers who dial 911.Anyone shocked? Anyone care to take bets on what would be found in audits of similar tax programs in other states? Or of the federal E911 surcharge program?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.