FEMA test sends first Presidential Alert to US cellphones

Wireless phone users can't block Trump administration 'Presidential Alert' test message

"The fact that you can't turn this alert off, that it will be something that will arrive on your phone whether you like it or not, I think was perhaps upsetting and concerning to some people", said Andy Whitehouse, who teaches communications at Columbia University.

The first Presidential Alert was deployed Wednesday at 11:18 a.m. PT/2:18 p.m. ET.

FEMA is testing its National Wireless Emergency Alert System on Wednesday afternoon. The former will bear the imprimatur of the White House, according to the FEMA primer.

The brief message will also say that it is only a TEST and that no action is needed.

People are so against the unwanted presidential alert that a lawsuit was filed September 26 to try to prevent it. To borrow a well-worn phrase from a phone commercial, there's a precedent for that.

This alert could be used in the event of a major solar or magnetic event, or other national emergencies, Bruner said. "The actual event code is Emergency Action Notification or EAN". Can you blame them?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was granted permission for use in 2015 when Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) proposed the "Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act".

You can't opt out of the WEA and EAS test, nor can you disable it.

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Not all phones, however, will receive Wednesday's alerts.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, released a statement on today's test, saying: "In order to make sure our national alert system works the way it should, we need to test it".

The test alert will be sent by a device similar to a laptop from a FEMA laboratory. It will be followed by a broadcast alert two minutes later. Users can not opt out of receiving the WEA test. The other option is to keep your phone from connecting to a cell tower.

FEMA officials use a device that's "very similar to a laptop computer", the senior FEMA official said.

The Wireless Emergency Alert or WEA's origins can be traced back to the 2006 Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act passed by Congress to fund a new emergency alert system called for by the then President George W Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "Verizon has voluntarily participated in the program from its beginning, and almost all the handsets we sell to customers are capable of providing the alerts".

Federal officials said President Donald Trump was not personally involved in sending the test alert.

Axios reported that Congress requires the alert system be tested every three years.

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