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America On Alert

This message hit cellphones in Hawaii last Saturday morning, causing panic. Thirty-eight minutes later, the message was revoked by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
This message hit cellphones in Hawaii last Saturday morning, causing panic. Thirty-eight minutes later, the message was revoked by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

What went wrong?

That was the top question after a frightening emergency alert hit people’s phones in Hawaii last weekend. The message warned of an imminent missile attack on the island and told recipients to seek shelter. “This is not a drill,” the warning ended.

Turns out, it wasn’t a drill. It was a mistake. From The New York Times:

“Officials said the alert was the result of human error and not the work of hackers or a foreign government. The mistake occurred during a shift-change drill that takes place three times a day at the emergency command post, according to Richard Rapoza, a spokesman for the agency.

“Someone clicked the wrong thing on the computer,” he said.

Now the top question is: Could it happen again?

And if push notifications are capable of causing such panic, should we be receiving emergency alerts alongside calendar reminders and sports scores?

How can we keep America alert, not alarmed?

GUESTS

Rear Admiral (Ret.) David Simpson, Former chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Cecilia Kang, Technology reporter, The New York Times; @ceciliakang

Michael Walter, Spokesman, City of Houston Office of Emergency Management

Ben Krakauer, Assistant commissioner, New York City Emergency Management

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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