New Amber Alert System Shocks Cell Users

As part of its new strategy to reach more people with new technologies, FEMA has expanded the Amber Alert system to millions of cell phones. The new program addition, which causes mobile phones to shriek to life with an alert message, has left many startled and annoyed.

Currently, 19 Amber Alerts have been issued under the new system in 14 states, according to the Associated Press. When users receive the alerts, the message reds, “Emergency Alert: Amber Alert. An Amber Alert has been issued in your area. Please check local media.”

Many recipients, as well as local authorities and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which actives the Amber Alerts, have voiced their concerns with messages, noting that countless people could opt out of the program because they don’t receive enough information.

FEMA officials said they are working with the U.S. Department of Justice to include more information in the text messages. Furthermore, the agency maintains that it requires all its employees who send out the alert to receive training to ensure the messages meet specific criteria.

Since 1996, NCMEC has helped officials return at least 602 missing children.

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