Feeds

FCC builds giant text spam engine for terror warnings

jst 2 let u knw, there's an @ak pl& on d USA l8r 2day

Mobile application security vulnerability report

The Federal Communications Commission is set to announce the launch of a national alert system, using text messaging and other mobile technologies to tell Americans when to panic.

The system will be announced on Wednesday, according to both CNN and USA Today. Carriers will be asked to opt in, while customers can opt out if they wish. CNN reports that all the major US carriers are signed up to the plan, at least in concept.

The idea is that a federal agency, as yet unnamed, will be given the password to the biggest mobile spamming engine ever created, and told to only use it in an emergency. They will use the system to let people know when there's a terrorist attack, ideally beforehand but more likely just afterwards, or a natural disaster, with the same caveat.

If the system gets over-used then punters can opt out of receiving more messages, and carriers will also be able to withdraw from the system.

Assuming the agency responsible can be discouraged from false alarms then the idea makes some sense, though it could be susceptible to feature creep; CNN reports that the same agency will also pass on Amber Alerts.

The Amber Alert system operates across the US and serves to let local media, and interested citizens, know when a child has been abducted. A similar system is being considered for use across Europe, endorsed by the parents of Madeleine McCann. Despite the low number of abductions they are emotive events, even when the "abductee" turns out to be hiding at a relative's or friend's house.

Setting up such alert systems is expensive, and one should be careful of any law named after a person (as the Amber Alert system is), as its enactment may be driven emotionally rather than based on cool assessment of the benefits. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.