Published: Tue, October 02, 2018
Technology | By Nina Perez

FEMA to Test ‘Presidential Alert System’ Wednesday

FEMA to Test ‘Presidential Alert System’ Wednesday

Plaintiffs compare the alert system to "hijacking private property for the goal of planting a Government-controlled loudspeaker in the home and on the person of every American".

At 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, almost every cell phone user in the United States will receive a text message at the same time.

Users will not be able to block or otherwise opt out of the test "Presidential Alert" message. "The alert is expected to surface at 2:18 Eastern time, and will be sent out over 100 carriers including Sprint and AT&T".

A Presidential Alert is "meant for use in a national emergency, and the only type of WEA alert (wireless emergency alert) that can be sent nationwide by FEMA" according to the agency.

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The message will be the first ever test of Wireless Emergency Alerts, or "Presidential Alert" system. "Periodic testing is a way to access the operational readiness of the infrastructure and determine whether technological improvements are needed". This is the first nationwide Presidential-level test, and no, you can not opt out of it. Therefore, if you have a smartphone capable of receiving WEA alerts, your phone will receive the alert.

The test was originally planned for September 20, 2018 but has been postponed until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. "No action is needed", officials said.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The alert will not interrupt a phone call or an active data session, though FEMA and the FTC are working to make sure the information reaches more people.

If you get an emergency alert on your phone Wednesday afternoon, don't be alarmed.

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