photo courtesy of blog.chron.com
AT&T has been rolling out Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for some time. The service is now being added to iPhone 4s and 5 phones through an over the air update. The alerts are sent via free messages and are issued according to geographic location. The alerts focus on messages of threats to life and property, amber alerts, and alerts from the president. I assume most of the threat alerts will be weather and natural disaster related. Amber alerts are obviously for abducted children in the area, but what exactly are presidential updates?
When an alert arrives, it will be 90 characters or less, accompanied by a “unique attention signal”, and it will have a vibration cadence. Judie already has this service on her Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4, and she said that the first time an Amber alert went off, it startled her because she had no idea what was happening. I have read that the tone is similar to the old emergency broadcast system that used to come over the television.
Helpful alerts can be great in some situations from the government, but I suspect there will be many who are against being forced to have the alerts as a default. I actually have similar alerts already pushing on my phone through third-party apps. Luckily for those who do not want to hear the alerts, there is a toggle to turn them off. The point that will bring some debate is the fact that presidential alerts may not be turned off. Whether you like the current administration or not, I can see this being a point of discussion for supporters as well as detractors.
So what do you think? Are the alerts fine and dandy? Is the fact that the president now has a portal to send messages unsolicited a problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.