Locals react to presidential alert, inability to opt out

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Americans went nuts on Wednesday when they received a startling message on their phones titled "Presidential Alert".

The alert will not come across a phone if it is powered off. Cellphones must be equipped to support the Wireless Emergency Alert System to comply. There's no reason for alarm but knowing about it beforehand will likely save you a few minutes researching the unexpected notification on your phone. Some got as many as four alerts on their phones; others didn't get any.

Anyone within range of a working cell tower and with a mobile device that is switched on received the message on their screens whether they liked it or not.

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The National test message was sent to about 224 million devices and it worked in a similar way to systems that allow police and local authorities to send out Amber alerts and weather warnings.

The test was originally scheduled for September 30th, but was delayed due to Hurricane Florence.

"Of course, this was a 'Presidential Alert, ' which is supposed to be the highest, most urgent".

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It is possible our nation won't have to use the Presidential Alert system for a long time, if ever. "WEA includes a special tone (some describe it as quite loud) and a vibration, both repeated twice", FEMA writes on its official website. FEMA last tested the EAS in 2016 and 2017, and the first wireless emergency alerts were sent in 2012.

FEMA has said that the alert isn't an actual text or SMS (so you won't be charged for this.) Instead, it's an audio and text warning that works similarly to the AMBER alerts and weather emergency notices that you might receive.

What kind of emergency would this be used for?

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They claim the Trump administration is violating their privacy and that it wants to turn people's phones into "government loudspeakers that compel listening". "The WARN Act further established that the wireless alerting service should allow wireless subscribers the capability of opting out of receiving WEA alerts, other than an alert issued by the President". It's not supposed to be used for political purposes, and it will only be used very rarely. This is nothing new, and the system has been tested before. We talked to people about how they feel about these emergency alerts.

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