My daughter made a good point. As sometimes kids do. She thought had about it for a second and came to the conclusion that it was a bad idea. What idea you say? It seems the government had offered and “opt in” program where you could get Amber alerts sent to your smartphone. I actually think that is a good idea, at least until my daughter made her point. However, she got one the other day and couldn’t figure out why. I looked it up and it seems that the government, “for the good of the children”, has decided to make the program mandatory with an “opt out” feature.
So you volunteered if you had a smartphone, and now because you have a smartphone you have been volunteered by the government. Yikes!
If you’ve purchased a smartphone in the past year there’s a good chance you’ll automatically get alerts about missing children starting this month.
The older opt-in Amber (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) alerts ended Dec. 31. The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are transitioning to a Wireless Emergency Alert system nationwide.
The new system changes the notifications to opt-out, meaning that even if you didn’t sign up to receive Amber alerts you’ll automatically receive text-based pop-ups on your phone.
The new system is based on distance to particular cell towers, so an alert issued for a missing child in the Orange County area would pop up on phones in the region.
About 700,000 people had opted-in to receive Amber alerts under the previous system, but the new system comes built into the latest cellphones, allowing agencies to reach millions of people.
The messages look similar to text messages, but there is no cost to smartphone users. Check with your carrier to see if your device is compatible with the new Wireless Emergency Alert system. Users have the option of turning off the Amber notifications.
It gets better. My daughter got the notification at 2am in the morning. 2AM!! While sleeping. I didn’t get one. It seems it is regional when it is sent out.
So my daughter wondered- 1. How did she get volunteered? Obviously the government did it. (Imagine this going out to things like regular crimes or BOLOs for persons of interest making every citizen a potential spy on fellow citizens. Do we know why the government would be looking for someone? Gun laws, privacy issues? Just saying…)
2. If the smartphone is receiving Amber alerts (remember Amber alerts are endangered children) from the government, doesn’t it mean that if the bad guy has a smartphone the government has just alerted him to the fact they know who he is AND where he’s at?
Think about that for a second. The bad guy grabs up a kid, he is driving away thinking the vehicle he is driving is safe. There weren’t any witnesses to ID him or his car. THEN he gets an amber alert FROM THE POLICE stating he is known and his vehicle is known and they figure he is in a particular area….
What does he do with the kid now? Historically it ends badly for the child.
The people who decided this was a good idea did not think through the process to a possible outcome. Again, showing us letting those guys in charge of our lives is a bad option.