Emergency Alerts Upgraded to be More Specific, Relevant
New FCC rules for Wireless Emergency Alerts take effect this month. The new rules are designed to make emergency alerts more specific, more relevant, and less annoying. Local officials can now conduct alert system tests at any time, but consumers are now opted out of such tests by default. Carriers are now required to deliver alerts with greater geographic accuracy (to within 1/10th of a mile of the target area). Emergency messages delivered to 4G and 5G phones can now be up to 360 characters — instead of the previous limit of 90 characters for 3G and older phones — and phones are required to keep recent alerts available to view for 24 hours. Officials also now have the option to send alerts in Spanish, which will automatically be delivered to phones set to the Spanish language in settings. There is also a new category of alert called Public Safety Messages, which is designed to provide actionable additional information related to a previous alert. For example, if an Imminent Threat alert was issued for a hurricane, a follow-up Public Safety Message might provide the locations of nearby shelters, or an advisement to boil tap water before drinking. Like most other alert types, users can opt out of Public Safety Messages. Another recent rule change allows emergency officials to add actionable links to alerts, which can be phone numbers or web addresses.
Dec 15, 2017
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.
Jan 30, 2018
The FCC today adopted new rules that it says will ensure wireless emergency alerts are used more effectively to notify the public about threats. To start, the FCC will require network operators that distribute such alerts to do so in a much more geographically accurate and relevant area.
Oct 2, 2018
Most cell phones in the U.S. will receive a pair of emergency alerts, sent via text message, on Wednesday, Oct.
Mar 26, 2018
Facebook has been called out in recent days for storing, in some cases, years' worth of call logs and text messages from Android handsets. Users discovered the logs in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Sep 27, 2018
The FCC is stripping power away from state and local governments in order to facilitate the installment of 5G infrastructure. This week the agency moved forward on an earlier proposal that sets limits on fees municipalities can charge for cell site applications, as well as the timeframe in which those applications need to be approved.