Intrusive Presidential Emergency Alert Scheduled for October 3 at 2:18 EDT
The Department of Homeland Security and FCC have rescheduled a controversial test that allows the President to suspend cell phone service and communicate directly with cell phone subscribers in the United States. The test message header is labelled "Presidential Alert" and will include the following text "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed." Cell phone users cannot opt out of the test. The President has sole authority to determine when the alert will be activated. The test will use the same special tone and vibration as with alerts for Tornado Warnings and AMBER Alerts. It is unclear why the alert is designated a "Presidential Alert" or when it may be issued. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security established a secret procedure - "SOP 303" - to suspend cell phone services. EPIC sued the agency after government officials disabled wireless service during a peaceful protest at a San Francisco metro station in 2011.