"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?"
Mark All as Read
What is an Amber Alert and why should I care?
Better questions: who's Amber, why does she send these alerts and how come there isn't (yet) any govt program or legislation for protection against alert-abuse (why nobody thinks of alerts)?
[A search engine] is your friend. So is Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] in this case. You should care if you live in the US or a country that has a similar system, and you either don't want to receive alerts of incidents you can't realistically do anything about (your chances of spotting the suspect vehicle, etc. are infinitesimal) or you are concerned that a potentially-useful system is being overused to the point of alarm fatigue [wikipedia.org].
That is to say, you are perfectly justified in not caring. But I do think the issue is relevant to a tech audience, because it pertains to the use of a communications network and the effects of that use on the people.