Risk
5/10/2011
11:41 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Presidential Alerts Soon Mandatory On Your Phone

The U.S. Government and major wireless carriers announced a new messaging system that supplements the current emergency system. While some alerts will be optional, presidential alerts will be mandatory.

The primary way for government officials to get important news out to users has been to simply use the news channels. We've had events like the start of several wars in the last 20 years and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country, and news channels covered it all. You may remember the Emergency Broadcast System that gave the government direct access to broadcast mechanisms to inform the public. This week that system finally got replaced with a new text messaging feature.

The new system is called PLAN, or Personal Localized Alerting Network, and is being implemented by FEMA. There are three types of alerts the system will send out. Those are presidential alerts, alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life as in the case of some sort of attack or natural disaster, and Amber Alerts, which involves missing children. FEMA indicated that the last two alerts may be blocked by consumers, but the presidential alerts will be mandatory.

According to a CBS New York report, the alerts will be available on phones "equipped with special chips and software."

I am all for upgrading the current alerting system. The current system actually doesn't work. The Emergency Broadcast System, which was based on TV and radio transmissions, was decommissioned in 1997 and replaced by the Emergency Alert System. That system was never enabled nationwide though. With fewer people watching live TV or listening to radio, the only reliable way to reach most of the country is via text messages. Every cell phone supports it, and just about everyone with a phone has it with them most of the time.

You may wonder why they don't use SMS messages though, which would work on all current phones. Part of it is the unreliability of SMS. Though the vast majority of messages get through, not all do. Trust me. I've gotten in trouble for not stopping to get a few items at the grocery that were on a text message in my wife's "sent items" folder but not in my inbox. This explains the new system with a special chip and software. The new messages will work even in times of high network congestion.

I don't know about you but I am not terribly keen on having a special chip on my phone that is mandated by the U.S. government. They don't have an entirely trustworthy record when doing things that are designed to protect us. One only has to look at the TSA to see several examples where our rights are curtailed or taken away entirely in the name of protection. Now it will mandate hardware and software that must be on your phone and will require you to receive messages from the president. Everyone has the First Amendment right of free speech, but that goes hand in hand with the right not to listen to someone exercising that right. Not anymore.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
aredd14ya
50%
50%
aredd14ya,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/18/2013 | 2:58:44 AM
re: Presidential Alerts Soon Mandatory On Your Phone
OMG! There goes the neighborhood.
billybob1423
50%
50%
billybob1423,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2011 | 10:45:20 PM
re: Presidential Alerts Soon Mandatory On Your Phone
How to ruin a country
1. Run it into bankruptcy ( 15 trillion and counting)
2. Pit one group against another and each other Demo's against Republican.:lazy asses
against the workers
3. Distroy captialism ( wall street sitins, How many U S flags have you seen and how many abolish captialism signs
Start selling all you have ,bury your money in a can and get your sheets, turbons and sandals before the big rush and start learning muslum language. The muslum new years day is listed in the 2011 calender and they want be mail delivered, and banks close. If not this year then next, SO WAKE UP
ylong
50%
50%
ylong,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/18/2011 | 7:03:31 PM
re: Presidential Alerts Soon Mandatory On Your Phone
I would wonder what else the government could do with that chip, such as logging/tracking GPS information or browsing contact lists.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0972
Published: 2014-08-01
The kgsl graphics driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not properly prevent write access to IOMMU context registers, which allows local users to select a custom page table, and consequently write ...

CVE-2014-2627
Published: 2014-08-01
Unspecified vulnerability in HP NonStop NetBatch G06.14 through G06.32.01, H06 through H06.28, and J06 through J06.17.01 allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges for NetBatch job execution via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3009
Published: 2014-08-01
The GDS component in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management - Collaborative Edition 10.0 through 11.0 and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management 9.0 and 9.1 does not properly handle FRAME elements, which makes it easier for remote authenticated users to conduct ph...

CVE-2014-3302
Published: 2014-08-01
user.php in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server 1.5(.1.131) and earlier does not properly implement the token timer for authenticated encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCuj81708.

CVE-2014-3534
Published: 2014-08-01
arch/s390/kernel/ptrace.c in the Linux kernel before 3.15.8 on the s390 platform does not properly restrict address-space control operations in PTRACE_POKEUSR_AREA requests, which allows local users to obtain read and write access to kernel memory locations, and consequently gain privileges, via a c...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio