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. "Blue Alerts warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer," said the FCC. "A Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect may be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe." Local authorities may send Blue Alerts through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers, as well as via the Wireless Emergency Alert system directly to consumers' cellular phones. The FCC said it expects it to take up to 12 months to implement Blue Alerts for the Emergency Alert System and 18 months to implement Blue Alerts for the Wireless Emergency Alert System.
Garmin inReach Brings Satellite Messaging to Your Phone
Jan 5, 2017
Garmin this week announced its inReach series of satellite communicators. These standalone handheld devices can also be paired with any Android, iOS or Windows 10 smartphone to provide satellite-based text messaging and GPS mapping on your phone even where there is no cellular coverage.
House Panel Says Stingrays Need Federal Guidelines
Dec 20, 2016
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a bipartisan panel, this week recommended that the federal government pass rules to manage the use stingrays and other cell-site simulating devices. The panel said in a report that law enforcement agencies have varying and inconsistent rules for the use of such devices.
Gov Taps AT&T to Build Dedicated First Responder Network
Mar 30, 2017
AT&T will build a nationwide wireless network explicitly for the use of first responders and emergency personnel, the company said today. The U.S.
FCC Proposes Updates to Emergency Alerts
Nov 19, 2015
The FCC wants to see wireless emergency alerts used more effectively and proposed several changes to improve them. Wireless emergency alerts have been used since 2012 to warn people about severe weather or other safety threats, alert them to missing children, and deliver other information via text messages.
Supreme Court Weighing Warrants for Cell Phone Location
Nov 29, 2017
The Supreme Court today heard a case regarding whether or not law enforcement can access certain types of cell location data without a warrant. Government agencies do not currently need a warrant when requesting location and other data held by phone companies thanks to a 1979 court case.
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