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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, Insightful) by lentilla on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:56AM

    by lentilla (1770) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:56AM (#14963)

    the police can and should call for help from regular people

    I believe that we each have an obligation to look out for our fellows. A police force is simply an extension and formalisation of this responsibility. It behoves us all; citizens and public servants alike; to recall we are not serfs and masters but rather equals with a common goal.

    Police need to understand that they are being employed to do the boring parts - the standing in the rain or the filling-in of countless reports. They need to remember their authority to act is derived solely from the citizenry and their purpose is to ensure society runs peacefully.

    I prefer to see it not so much "police can and should call for help from regular people" as much as "regular people should be able to ask for help from their neighbours". A paid police force is no more than the continuation of this basic responsibility.

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