Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Americans Can't Opt Out of Today's 'Presidential Alert'

Most US cell phones to receive 'Presidential Alert' text on Wednesday Lawsuit seeks to stop FEMA's "Presidential Alert" system to cell phones citing First Amendment violation
Troy Mann | 03 October, 2018, 14:46

The WEA portion of the test is set for 1:18 p.m. CST and the EAS portion will follow at 1:20 p.m. CST. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements. The Communications Act of 1934 lets the president use private sector communication platforms for emergency messages. FEMA said the test is made available to EAS participants which include radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.

The Oct. 3 WEA test will be sent through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. "According to FEMA, a nationwide WEA message would only be used in the most extreme emergency situation".

Warstler cautioned that not all cellphones will receive the alert.

This will be the first national Wireless Emergency Alert, according to FEMA.

Officials from FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission said that in previous local tests, the message was successfully received by about 75% of phones.

It's the first nationwide test for a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA).

The test originally had been scheduled for September 20, but was postponed to Wednesday, its backup date, because of Hurrican Florence.

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FEMA said the EAS test will begin at 2:20 p.m.

While most WEA-enabled phones have a setting to turn off Amber Alerts and emergency alerts sent through the system, a Presidential Alert can't be blocked and should make it through on any compatible phone and network.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is created to warn Americans in the event of a national emergency.

Maryland officials will also have access to the system when necessary, said Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russ Strickland.

About 225 million electronic devices across the United States will wail and buzz Wednesday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts an emergency alert test.

This is the U.S. government we're talking about here, so get ready for some acronyms. The EAS test is the one you'll see on your cell phone. "No action is needed". It can not be opted out.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is used to notify Americans about risky weather from the National Weather Service, AMBER Alerts for missing children, and other urgent situations from federal, state and local authorities. Others will not. No action is required.

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