Predictably, America wasn't thrilled with the nationwide Presidential Alert test
- Author: Terrell Bush Oct 04, 2018,
Oct 04, 2018, 0:45
Rules outlined in a 2006 law states that the White House can issue a presidential alert only if the public were in peril, or during national emergencies. The WEA portion of the test, which will be sent to consumer cell phones, will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT.
The test was originally scheduled for September 20 but was postponed due to the ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.
Given Trump's frequent criticism of individuals and groups on Twitter, it's uncomfortable timing that this system is going live under his tenure. Along with that tone, you'll get some text which says: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
This will be the first time ever the government is testing the national emergency alert system. It has comments dating all the way to present day, so if you're really wanting to try to disable presidential alerts, this might be your best source. The Trump administration will probably claim this messaging as another victory, which will be a surprise to no one.
You can't, unless you can convince your carrier not to pass it along.
The beep of the test alert echoed through Times Square, causing some pedestrians to look up in confusion before turning back to their phones and continuing with their day.
Unlike the Amber and weather alerts, the presidential alert can't be turned off. People with their phones on silent still saw the alert message on their screens. Trump was not to use the platform as a means of sending a political message.
The alert is expected to appear and sound similar to AMBER and severe weather alerts, but unlike those Alerts there is no opting out. The agency is coordinating with the FCC to test out this system.
But the move has prompted a lawsuit in NY, which says that presidential alerts are a "violation of Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from Government-compelled listening, as well as warrantless, non-consensual trespass into and seizure of their cellular devices". The message sent must relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or a threat to public safety.
We'll have to see whether that limitation holds up.
All Wireless Emergency Alert-compatible cell phones that are powered on and within range of a cell tower during the test will receive a test message that will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".