"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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"I can configure the radio to only alarm for certain counties and for certain events."
Your description closely resembles the Android app "pro weather alert". I shut off all the notifications from wireless and rely on that app for "real" warnings.
You can also set up multiple areas. Understandably I'm interested in tornado warnings at my house, even when I'm at work or traveling, and at some elderly relatives homes, etc.
I am also very selective with my choice of alerts. Not interested in air quality alerts, WTF am I supposed to do, hold my breath till next Thursday?
Its interesting that given enough careful filtration, what superficially is FUD security theater can be useful.