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

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?