National emergency text message alert system approved: You'll soon be getting txts from the president


You could soon be getting text messages from the president about terrible things! Regulators yesterday approved a measure to create an emergency alert system using text messages. Cellphone users would have the option to opt out of the system, but if you chose to be a part of it, and if your wireless provider does, too, you’ll be on the receiving end of three types of text messages. The messages should be free for the end-user when the program goes live by 2010.

The first kind will be directly from the president himself (will it?), warning about things like terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Or maybe something just as unlikely, like if the Knicks actually won a game.

“Imminent threats” make up the second category of scary texts. Things like hurricanes and, as the AP, says, school shootings. My school has just such a program, everyone gets a text message when something bad goes down.

Lastly, you’ll get a text message for Amber alerts.

I am shocked to see the government using technology in a useful fashion.