This was a test: President Trump messages millions using emergency alert system

This was a test: President Trump messages millions using emergency alert system

This was a test: President Trump messages millions using emergency alert system

Your cell phone will receive a national alert today, October 3, at around 2:18 pm ET.

What just happened? That unusual notification you just received on your smartphone isn't reason for concern, it's simply a scheduled test of the wireless emergency alerts system. This will be the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide WEA test. The alerts are broadcast by FEMA, and must meet Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act requirements before they can be broadcast.

Three New Yorkers filed a federal lawsuit last week attempting to block the test, saying it violates free speech and is an unconstitutional seizure of electronic devices. FEMA said the test is made available to EAS participants which include radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.

"The Presidential Alert system, which is compulsory and can not be opted out of, violates these rights because it is tantamount to hijacking private property for the objective of planting a Government-controlled loudspeaker in the home and on the person of every American", plaintiffs Jason Nicholas, Kristine Rakowsky and Liane Nikitovich said in the lawsuit. The people with their phones on do not disturb got the alert once their phone is off that mode.

As the law now stands, messages via the unblockable system can only be sent by officials from federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not.

Earlier on Wednesday, a federal judge in NY rejected a request to block the test in a lawsuit filed last month by three NY residents.

The test is allowing FEMA to assess "the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message to determine whether improvements are needed".

So we asked FEMA why some people didn't get the alerts.

We've seen Amber Alerts for missing children and weather alerts for incoming thunderstorms or tornadoes.

Didn't get the president alert from FEMA on Wednesday? That's one of the things they are testing. It's not supposed to be used for political purposes, and it will only be used very rarely. FEMA is exploring making the alerts available in additional languages. Given the name of the message and President Donald Trump's penchant for online communication, people have plenty of questions about this system and how it affects them.

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