Daily Management Review

Trump in your mobile phone: US is going to test Presidential Alert system


Three New Yorkers sued US President Donald Trump. They demand a ban on testing an SMS system, which will allow the current head of the White House and future presidents to send text messages to all mobile phone owners in the United States. According to the applicants, the new initiative of the administration of Mr. Trump violates the laws on freedom of dissemination of information.

The first test of sending SMS messages called Presidential Alert was to take place on September 20, but because of Hurricane Florence that hit the coast of North Carolina, the administration of Donald Trump decided to postpone the launch of the project.

Emergency response services in the US regularly send SMS messages, accompanied by audible alarms, to users in the event of natural disasters. In some areas, the system is used by the police, informing residents of the signs of missing children or stolen cars. The same messages are usually broadcast by TV channels, radio stations and satellite signal distribution systems.

In accordance with the law signed by President Barack Obama in 2016, the system of mass mailing of messages to mobile phones, “except in cases of testing its performance”, “cannot be used to transmit messages not related to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other threats to public safety."

According to the rules of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which is monitored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), mobile phone users can block any messages about a possible threat to their own lives. But this right does not apply to mailings initiated by the President of the United States.

According to the new initiative of the administration, at 14 o'clock 18 minutes on Wednesday local time about 225 million (75%) mobile users in the United States will hear warning signals and see a message on their phone screens: “Presidential Alert. This is a test of the National Mobile Emergency Warning System. Take no action.”

Three New Yorkers who appealed to the Manhattan District Court claim that such a system not only violates freedom of information laws, but also “illegally grants” Donald Trump, as well as all future US presidents, the right to access mobile devices. “Without trying to give the necessary explanations, officials, including President Trump, can optionally call a terrorist act or a threat to public safety any event, reporting this to tens of millions of people,” the lawsuit said. 

source: cnn.com