FCC votes to upgrade emergency alerts on phones with links & more information

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to make a broad swath of improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, upgrading messages with more content and detail, including some limited interactive elements.



Alerts will now be able to contain up to 360 characters on networks with LTE speeds or better, up from a standard 90, Engadget reported on Thursday. Carriers must support embedded phone numbers and links, and some alerts -- for instance about missing people -- may contain photos.

The FCC is also aiming at better tailoring alerts, allowing them to be pushed in Spanish when appropriate, and target "more granular geographic areas." A new alert type, the Public Safety Message, will explain steps people should take in areas affected by natural disasters and other conditions.

On a broader level, the FCC is hoping to make it easier for state and local governments to test WEA technology and train their staff on it.

The need for upgraded alerts was highlighted in the case of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in recent bombing incidents in New York City and New Jersey. When the WEA system pushed out an alert to New York residents, all it contained was "WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen." Under the revised system, that alert could've shown a picture of Rahami and explained why he was wanted.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    too bad they couldn't get the Set Top Box Bill passed today
    zroger73
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 
    designrSpamSandwichstevehtallest skil
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 
    Elected officials granted those unelected officials the authority to make rules because the elected officials don't have time to do everything. And what's so sweeping about making incremental changes to the capabilities of the WEA system? These changes require nothing more than what standard SMS and MMS messages have been delivering for years.
    Roger_Fingasmike1brian greenpacificfilmroundaboutnowlolliverjony0
  • Reply 4 of 11
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,886member
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 
    Sometimes (but not always, unfortunately) the unelected officials have much greater subject-matter knowledge than the typical elected politician.
    roundaboutnowlostkiwiewtheckman
  • Reply 5 of 11
    bonobob said:
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 
    Elected officials granted those unelected officials the authority to make rules because the elected officials don't have time to do everything. And what's so sweeping about making incremental changes to the capabilities of the WEA system? These changes require nothing more than what standard SMS and MMS messages have been delivering for years.
    That was obviously sarcasm.

    On another note, pretty ridiculous that this much needed change required a vote.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 6 of 11
    I can easily imagine this emergency alert system getting hacked and links to viruses or other types of malware being unleashed onto millions of phones.
    kudu
  • Reply 7 of 11
    anomeanome Posts: 1,270member
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 

    Not entirely sure what the objection here is, other than the usual "big gummint" bollocks. The FCC - a government agency authorised by Congress to act in these matters - has voted to expand the usability of the emergency alert system to provide more information to people who might be caught up in an emergency. If they didn't periodically review these things, the same people who complain about the changes would probably complain that they were behind the times and not making the best use of the available technology.
    lostkiwiewtheckmanlolliver
  • Reply 8 of 11
    I turned them off. There are useless if during deluge I hear that there is possiblity of flood , but I am on heights and basically thi is regular. Also it is quite useless to tell me some plate number of a car if I do not know what it means and what are the risks. The information is either noise or too vague to guess any actions. It is more of a panic than recommendations or instruction steps. If this was trsunami, earthquake or terrorist attack I would keep alerts on, but then again it is not for me to guess or study some materials - concise instruction is required. Otherwise it is useless panic that on commuters bus creates annoying sounds from all peoples phones.
    spacekid
  • Reply 9 of 11
    I had turned Amber alerts off when while trying to record my son's band performance, my phone stopped recording and began to emit a loud sound because of an alert some 400 miles away.

    Regarding hacking, I wonder how carefully they will check images for viruses.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    mike1 said:
    Always fun when unelected officials make sweeping regulatory changes. 
    Sometimes (but not always, unfortunately) the unelected officials have much greater subject-matter knowledge than the typical elected politician.
    That's a pretty darned low bar, sadly.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to make a broad swath of improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, upgrading messages with more content and detail, including some limited interactive elements.as wanted.
    I’m fine with what they offer now, just don’t give me tornado warnings for counties 200 miles away anymore. Geezaloo…

    bonobob said:
    Elected officials granted those unelected officials the authority to make rules because the elected officials don't have time to do everything.
    Don’t they? They sure seem to do fuck all, as shown by voting records…

    edited September 2016 designr
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