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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: 4, Interesting) by evilviper on Tuesday March 11 2014, @06:22PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @06:22PM (#14751) Homepage Journal

    Presidential alerts are for WWIII... full-scale (retaliatory) nuclear strikes. It started with CONELRAD, then Ememrgency Broadcast System (EBS), then Emergency Alert System (EAS), and now cell-phone based alerts (since people aren't listening to their radios/TVs all the time, and the fed couldn't convince everyone to go out and buy a weather-alert radio).

    It used-to be that NORAD could also issue nation-wide alerts, but they forgot to flip. a switch when doing a test, and accidentally told the country the world was about to end... So now it's by presidential alert-only...

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
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  • (Score: 1) by chromas on Tuesday March 11 2014, @10:07PM

    by chromas (34) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @10:07PM (#14901)

    NORAD could also issue nation-wide alerts, but they forgot to flip. a switch when doing a test, and accidentally told the country the world was about to end

    I never understood the purpose of the "Lock out changes" button that they forgot about after pressing but at least Joshua learned humility.

  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:04AM

    by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:04AM (#14965) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the emergency alert was a wrong tape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Broadcast_ System#False_alarm_of_1971 [wikipedia.org]

    The switch I was thinking of was from the new NORAD computers that ran the test / simulation on the big screen just like the real-deal. See the last few paragraphs here:

    http://blockyourid.com/~gbpprorg/2600/sac.html [blockyourid.com]

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.