FCC Votes to Boost Emergency Alerts With Links, Better Targeting

...

When New York and New Jersey officials were searching for the suspected Chelsea bomber recently, they sent out an alert to area smartphones that urged residents to be on the lookout for a specific individual. The alert included his name and age, but told people to "See media for pic."

The man's photo was everywhere, so it wasn't that hard to find. But it still struck some as odd that in 2016, when we can seemingly do everything with our phones, that emergency alerts did not support photos.

Emergency AlertThe Federal Communications Commission this week took steps to change that when it approved new rules for the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system that, among other things, requires carriers to supports links to photos.

The update will also allow for messages with 360 characters (up from 90) over 4G LTE networks; embedded phone numbers that you can tap to call; messages that are targeted to more granular geographic areas; and Spanish-language alerts.

The agency also wants a new class of alerts, known as Public Safety Messages, that will help residents in local emergencies, like emergency shelter locations or a boil water order. State and local authorities will also be able to better test WEAs, train personnel, and raise public awareness about the service.

Right now, WEAs are issued for messages from the president, Amber Alerts, and alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life. Mobile users are not charged for receiving WEAs; they are automatically enrolled to receive them, though they can turned off in a phone's settings.

"Since its launch in 2012, Wireless Emergency Alerts have notified Americans via their cell phones about severe weather, missing children, and other emergencies. These notifications have, quite simply, saved lives," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "With these new rules, we are taking action to make this life-saving service even more useful by incorporating lessons learned from the first four years of service and by levering technological advances."

Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, however expressed concern about "requiring participating wireless providers to add functions that are not based on what can reasonably be achieved with existing technology in realistic timelines."

Carriers have 12 to 30 months to complete these upgrades. O'Rielly says "42 months or 24 months from the completion of all relevant standards, whichever is earlier...is a far more reasonable timeframe.

"We also need to consider that standards bodies have their hands full right now preparing for nextgeneration technologies," he continued. "I certainly wouldn't want to see 5G deployments stuck on the sidelines in order to incorporate not-ready WEA solutions into the development of 5G networks and devices."

Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, however, argued that "time is of the essence" when it comes to improving WEAs.

The order will be open to public comment.

Categories
GAMES
0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


RELATED BY

  • 5300c769af79e

    LinkedIn's Kafka Monitor, Apple's Siri Are Set Free: Big Data Roundup

    Whether your organization is considering the use of big data and analytics, or has taken its first LinkedIn contributes Kafka Monitor to open source and Apple prepares to open Siri to third-party developers.We have all this, plus news about Confluent and Tinkerpop, in our Big Data Roundup for the week ending May 29, 2016.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Google Keyboard 5.0 Arrives With Lots of Awesomeness, Download It Now

    Oooooooh, a big ol’ Google Keyboard just showed up today as v5.We’re talking about keyboard height adjustments, borders around keys, one-handed mode, new gestures, and some new layouts when in the number and symbol layout, that includes a flip to a dial pad.
  • 5300c769af79e

    ESET Internet Security 10

    Like ESET NOD32 Antivirus 10, this app's main window showcases an image of ESET's serene cyborg mascot.Kaspersky, Norton, BullGuard Internet Security, and quite a few others list all sites visited; ESET sticks to blocked sites.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Is That Smoke? Nest, GE Team Up to Make Sure You Don't Burn Dinner

    Well, good news: a new integration between GE and Nest can help make sure you don't ruin dinner—or burn down the house.Going forward, if you connect your Nest Protect with an Internet-connected GE oven, the smoke detector will keep tabs on what's cooking and shut things down if your meal starts to burn.