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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 11 2014, @10:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the be-alert,-the-country-needs-more-lerts dept.

frojack writes:

"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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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:15PM (#14693)

    The problem is that sometimes the kid really is in danger because of that

    The problem seems to be that when the parent takes the kid from a state service, the state is too willing to call am amber alert even when there is no danger. My opinion is based on anecdote, but I've started googling the details every time I hear about an amber alert and more often than not, that's what it is. For example, a recent case involved a mother taking her kid from custody, I think it was a group home, the child had been taken from her because she beat up another woman in front of the kid. No drug abuse, no special medications (which they could inform the kidnapper of via amber alerts too), no violence to the kid. She was just a bad example.

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by tangomargarine on Tuesday March 11 2014, @06:19PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @06:19PM (#14750)

    "This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl's Jr. believes no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl's Jr. Carl's Jr... 'Fuck You, I'm Eating.'"

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"