Republican senators mistrust mobile text alert plan


Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was a proponent of a emergency alert system that would be delivered to cell phones, but now he wants to make sure such a system provides an opt out option for citizens. Rand Paul (R-KY) has also expressed misgivings about the program.

The program unveiled in New York on Friday 5/13/11 would bring presidentially-authorized emergency alerts to cell phone users in a geographically-defined area. It could be used for natural and manmade disasters.

According to The Hill, Paul is concerned that the measure could be put in place as an innocuous, well-intentioned and bipartisan program, when in fact its ultimate purpose would be to give the government the ability to track citizens.

According to the Hill report, Paul stated, “A lot of times things are sold as being for security or for communications and it’s supposed to be all rosy scenario, no problem, not very controversial. And then when you get into the nitty-gritty of them, maybe we were sacrificing some civil liberties to this. And I think we have to be very careful about DeMint was a proponent of the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act in 2006, but is not so sure about the Personal Localized Alerting Network that was touted in New York. He is said to be looking into the matter, and wants to make sure that people can stay out of the program if they do not wish to participate.

RBR-TVBR observation: Besides the ability to deliver messages from a single transmitter to many receivers, by battery or gasoline generator power if the regular power grid is down, and the ability to deliver messages with much greater immediacy and detail, broadcasters would not spark any fears in similarly-minded politicians. Citizens can either turn on their phone or radio to get the word, or not, without any forced-feeding from the government.