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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.