"Amber alerts on our smartphones are starting to become all too frequent, and like most things, they are burdened with a certain degree of Feature Creep. Not just for abducted children anymore, the Alert system in US carrier sold phones can carry Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threat Alerts (weather or forest fires mostly) and the original AMBER alert for missing children.
Its not clear the President is ever going to have a single message for the entire population, where that message will make any difference to the average citizen. But then, this category is seldom abused. Weather broadcasts are invariably too late, historically too widely distributed, and often simply redundant. And Amber Alerts are, in the majority of cases, custody disputes, where the child is never in any real danger.
Amber Alerts are quickly becoming viewed as security theater, and the most abused aspect of the entire system. This has increasing numbers of people opting out of the alerts on their phones as a result.
The Amber system is the "third rail" of child safety discussions, and few agencies are willing to address its failings. Do we need additional shades of Amber, or the ability to filter custody disputes from the system?"
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The problem is that the alerts are too broad. Flash flood warnings in Northern Il, after its been raining - useless. Severe weather/ tornado warnings for my town when the sirens (which you can't hear due to severe weather) are sounded - excellent idea. Unless I can configure the level of alerts I want to receive, there should be strict guidelines as to when they are triggered. If you are not setting off the sirens or firing up the reverse 911 system to contact every citizen in an evacuation zone, you shouldn't be firing off a cell phone alert.
Whats next, alerts when Max Madsen Nissan is inflating the gorilla - because these prices are so good they can't last - hurry before they're gone?
Some people live in easily flooded areas(especially farmers), and need to know they should be prepared. Tornados are scary, but flash floods do more property damage and I believe they kill more people, but my memory there is hazy.