Donald Trump has the ability to text us now which is just terrible news all around
You’ve done everything you can to avoid the toxic, angry tweets. You don’t tune into his rallies. You avoid listening to him in interviews. But now, as of this month, Donald Trump can reach out and personally text you. Because why should there be any sanctity left in this world?
Next Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct its first test of a system that allows the president to send texts messages directly to our phones. Over 200 mobile carriers are participating which means that, yes, you’ll very likely get a text. The message will read: “Presidential Alert THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Next Thursday, FEMA will do its first test of a system that allows the president to send a message to most U.S. cellphones. https://t.co/VyUoegiJgu
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 15, 2018
So, what exactly is the purpose of all this? “The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” FEMA explained. That means we’ll be alerted if there’s life-threatening weather, a missing child report, or any other dangerous situations. FEMA is required to test out the system once every three years ever since it was authorized by congress in 2015.
However, there’s a stipulation that says the system cannot be used for anything other than “a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety.” That means that we shouldn’t receive any messages from Trump screaming about witch hunts (which would be just a few notches worse than getting a 2am “u up” text).
Regardless, people are really not feeling the idea of the president having direct access to us at all times. Many suggested that now might be a good time to destroy your phones altogether. Others seemed extremely skeptical that the president wouldn’t abuse his newfound privilege. Some weren’t particularly confident that Trump would be able to provide useful information, even if it was in an emergency situation.
Narrator: "Half the country smashed their iPhones that day…" https://t.co/t0oXswnzlz
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) September 15, 2018
I can't imagine a scenario under which this technology might be abused. https://t.co/2XKICVXUSb
— Chuck Tryon (@chutry) September 15, 2018
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Others were optimistic about the system. “If you separate this from the politics and personality of any individual president then this is a great idea and an amazing use of technology to reach everybody if they’re in harms way,” Karen North, director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC News.
Yup, that sounds good to me. If Trump does use this texting access for his own means, though, then we’ll all have to figure out the best way to collectively ghost him.