Presidential Alert Hits 225 Million Phones Across America

Smartphones receive a message from President Trump?


Giovanni Quintal

If you have a smartphone, you more than likely received a blaring Presidential Alert, on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The alert, which read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed”, was sent for around 30 minutes through cell towers to reach about 225 million phones in the US. While it was only a test, the new technology known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) can be very useful in a state of emergency.

The new alert is similar to the AMBER alert and Weather alert system already in place in most phones. It can be used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to send alerts on federal emergencies. They say that the alert could be more efficient than broadcasting alerts via television and radio.

If you have used social media in the hours following the alert, you were likely to have seen memes dubbing the system as Trump’s personal alert system. While the message sent to 75 percent of America’s phones was titled “Presidential Alert”, it is not actually a way for Trump to send messages whenever he wants to. There is actually a law preventing any president from abusing the IPAWS. Furthermore, the information displayed in the new alerts has to meet strict guidelines and will only be used in serious situations. So, we likely won’t be getting the President’s tweets blasted through our iPhones. Despite that, the Presidential Alert received lots of backlash from the left. Many people believed the message to be intrusive and some even vowed to turn off their phones.

While receiving controversy, the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System is definitely a modern and efficient way to alert Americans, and we will see how it is used in the future.