The federal government wants to implement a centralized system of control over all communications, with last year’s announcement that all new cell phones will be required to comply with the PLAN program (Personal Localized Alerting Network), which will broadcast emergency alert messages directly to all Americans’ cell phones.
Although users can opt out of receiving the alerts from FEMA and the
Amber Alert program, messages direct from the president will be
The thought of cellphone users being forcibly targeted with text
messages from Barack Obama during the election season has obviously
stoked concerns that the emergency alert system could be exploited
for political reasons.
The system went live in the New York and Washington Metro
areas last December 2011, caused panic in New Jersey after Verizon
customers received text messages warning them that a “civil
emergency” was in progress and to take shelter. This prompted alarmed
citizens to flood 911 lines with anxious calls.
Verizon Wireless later apologized to its customers for causing
alarm, admitting that the confusion was caused by a “test” of the
PLAN emergency alert system.
The emergency alerts are designed to be incorporated into
the Intellistreets system which turns all street lights into
surveillance hubs that can record conversations and broadcast
For the first time ever the government will have a direct line to
millions of Americans who use cell phones and be able to transmit whatever messages it decides. Between this and the GPS required on all cell phones, we no longer need worry about being alone.