FCC Publishes Site to Help Consumers Avoid Bill Shock
The Federal Communications Commission today launched a new online tool for consumers that provides information about bill shock. The web site is the result of an action called for by The CTIA Wireless Association last year about a set of self-imposed guidelines for alerting customers about their data, messaging, voice, and international roaming usage before reaching their monthly limits. The web site offers clear information about the policies of U.S.-based wireless networks and when/how they'll alert users about their monthly services consumption. FCC Chairman Genachowski said, "Using technology to empower consumers with information has been among the top priorities of the Commission. Last October, announce[d] new commitments to provide free alerts to consumers before they approach limits and incur fees. We also promised an online resource with information about when carriers begin providing these alerts. Today, we deliver on that promise." Usage alerts gained momentum during 2010 and 2011 when lawmakers started complaining of "bill shock."
Google Maps and Google Search Debut SOS Function
Google today announced its Google Maps and Google Search apps will soon show critical information regarding natural and other disasters that may strike. The SOS Alerts, as they are called, will appear at the top of search results and within maps as people look for information concerning the disasters or impacted areas.
Apple Puts Family Resources On a Single Web Page
Apple recently published a new web site meant to help families manage their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple accounts. The site offers high-level overviews of all the parental controls available, as well as deep-dive tutorials with step-by-step directions on how to enable each tool.
Wireless Users May Eventually Receive Government 'Blue Alerts'
The FCC has added a new type of alert to the Emergency Alert System that is specifically meant for law enforcement officers and other first responders. Joining the Amber Alert and Silver Alert, the new Blue Alert can be used by state and local authorities to notify the public of threats to law enforcement and request help in apprehending suspects.
FCC Votes to Improve Text Alert System
The FCC today took action to improve the Wireless Emergency Alert system. Local, state, and federal governments use the system to alert people about impending threats.