The Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) despatched an alert to tens of thousands and thousands of U.S. cellphones Wednesday to check a brand new “presidential alert” system.
The textual content appeared in an estimated 225 million U.S. cellphones at 2:18 p.m. ET. Wednesday.
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FEMA defined that the textual content was titled, “Presidential Alert.” All telephones made a loud sound and had a particular vibration when the alert was obtained.
The check was to make sure that the alert system would work within the occasion of an precise nationwide emergency.
All cellphone customers obtained the message: “THIS IS A TEST of the Nationwide Wi-fi Emergency Alert System. No motion is required.”
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The same message was then broadcast on TV screens and radio two minutes later at 2:20 p.m.
Nobody can decide out of those alerts — and solely U.S. President Donald Trump has the flexibility to resolve if or when these alerts are despatched. Nevertheless, FEMA confirmed to CNN that Trump won’t be sending the alert from his cellphone.
“You wouldn’t have a state of affairs the place any sitting president would get up one morning and try and ship a selected message,” a FEMA official advised the information community.
Jeh Johnson, the previous secretary of Homeland Safety. defined to CBS Information that the alerts will solely be despatched in instances of true, nationwide crises.
“It must be reserved for true conditions, true emergencies, when we have to get the general public’s consideration,” Johnson mentioned. “That is one thing that shouldn’t be used for a political agenda,” he mentioned.
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The presidential alerts are completely different from different nationwide emergency alerts which have gone out up to now for pure disasters or lacking individuals alerts. These ones may very well be used for issues corresponding to a nationwide safety disaster.
The nation’s wi-fi emergency alert system was began in 2012 and has issued over 36,000 alerts for conditions corresponding to lacking kids, excessive climate and pure disasters, however by no means a presidential directive.
Former president Barack Obama was the one who directed FEMA to create a system that might permit the president to ship cellphone alerts concerning public security emergencies.
However the transfer has prompted a lawsuit in New York, which says that presidential alerts are a “violation of Individuals’ First and Fourth Modification rights to be free from Authorities-compelled listening, in addition to warrantless, non-consensual trespass into and seizure of their mobile gadgets.”
— With information from Reuters
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