‘Absolutely terrifying!’: California iPhone users freak out over Amber Alert

A statewide Amber Alert was issued in California last night as authorities search for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson. James Lee DiMaggio, 40, is suspected of abducting the siblings from San Diego County on Saturday after he murdered their mother.

“California” and “#AmberAlert” zoomed up the Twitter trends chart as iPhone users received the alert. Amber Alerts are pushed to iPhone 4S and 5 phones running iOS 6.1.

But the trend wasn’t solely about concern for the kidnapped kids. Won’t somebody think of the iPhone owners?

Even the California Highway Patrol acknowledged that the Amber Alert “might have scared some of you.”

But when every second counts, the iPhone alerts are essential to raising awareness about abducted kids.

An upside to the freak-out: The trending Twitter topic brought much-needed attention to the abduction of Hannah and Ethan.

Here’s what the suspect looks like without facial hair.

For the record, the notifications can be disabled.

Related:

iPhone users freaked out by iOS 6 Amber Alert notice of missing 2-year-old Florida girl; Update: Girl is OK!

iPhone users still freaked out by Amber Alerts; Update: missing toddler in Flint, MI found

  • CatHerder

    Okay, but where’s the demo of this ‘terrifying’ sound?

    • http://erickbrockway.com/ Erick Brockway

      I was just looking in my settings and there’s no preview button for it

    • Guest
      • CatHerder

        Dang, I was expecting something more along the lines of an air raid siren. Sheesh!

        • grais

          jeeze. I think these folks might be a bit on edge to begin with.
          I sure hope they can recover from such a fright. *eyeroll*

          • Michael Anderson (WB)

            If I woke up to that in the middle of the night it could be a bit confusing, but during the day no.

          • http://www.thedailymel.com Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

            It might not seem so scary during daylight hours when one has had their morning coffee. I assure you though, it scared the crap out of me last night when it woke me up blaring through my Jambox speaker. The second one came today during my morning commute in L.A. right as I was performing a lane change. It wasn’t quite as scary as the one that woke me up, but it was very disconcerting to say the least blaring through my car speakers.

          • RLEE

            bet the abducted kids a bit scared as well

          • Allan Hamilton

            Please suck it up and get over it…for the kids.

          • $48245650

            When you grow up in an area that encounters tornadoes, the sound has a deeper meaning than “omg what is that noise?”

            Being on edge is one thing, but you should be rolling your eyes at your fellow people who would rather not be bothered with information about an emergency. I only sympathize with them on the issue of the alert tone

        • Rob

          I got the THX intro sound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWkJ86JqlPA Just faster.

      • http://www.thedailymel.com Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

        I just went and listened to this video. That’s not what it sounded like at all.

      • RblDiver

        Sounds like some sort of “Incoming bomb” alert you might get in a scify movie (or “Terminators Online” or something)

      • dtom_molonlabe

        That’s not what the iPhone does.

      • broketheinterweb

        Haha wow, I was bracing myself to hear it again and that video is most definitely not the sound iPhone users got. The iPhone alert actually did sound just like a mix between blaring end-of-the-world air raid siren and a very loud tornado alert. Obv I hope the kids get home safe immediately, just wanted to clarify why people were so disturbed by the sound initially.

    • dtom_molonlabe

      It’s the ALARM tone in the Alert Tones section of the iPhone

    • $48245650

      My iPhone 5 was set to “vibrate” so that’s all it did. My girlfriend’s LG Android somethingorother made this tone in something like 2-3 second intervals:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRxrCBvt7TM

  • Russ

    just curious if anyone noticed that it said they’re facing “bolidy” harm

    • HalleysFifth

      If you’ve ever had your bolidy harmed, then you know how painful it can be.

  • http://erickbrockway.com/ Erick Brockway

    I don’t want them doing this type of alert for every ex that doesn’t bring the kids back on time, but this maggot killed a woman and one of her kids.
    That girl is in trouble.

    • MarcusFenix

      Since it’s an Amber Alert, those have historically been pretty consistent in those regards..so if it’s going off, it’s 99% likely that it’s the real deal.

  • rambler

    Welcome to the new norm. If people don’t like getting amber alerts then they will have lots of fun when the fed gov takes over their phones with gov messages. Notice how we pay for the phones and other entities get to hi-jack them for their own purposes. Some of these messages can be deactivated but the gov ones can not.

  • $29561723

    By making the alert intrusive and jarring, they are encouraging users to diable or silence the notifications. Good job. Change the defaults.

  • Lamebrains

    Why is the state and government taking over my property without my permission. Can I put the government on the do not call me, text me, bother me list??!

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      No, you can’t opt out of the government alerts. Sigh.

    • betzinva

      See above, if you are uninterested in helping. Amber Alerts don’t strike me as the kind of “government intrusion” that I resent, but rather an attempt to protect kids. Feel free to make it all about you.

      • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

        Why yes you’re SO right! After all there’s no better way to do it, I think owning an Iphone should be a mandated part of being a US resident, just like health care!

        PS – seriously — if that’s ALL it was, I think a lot of us wouldn’t mind.

        • betzinva

          I grasp that the government goes beyond any sensible measure in almost everything it does. It is choosing Amber Alerts as poster children for the overreach that chaps me. It’s a bit like complaining about the Emergency Broadcast System cutting in to warn about a tornado bearing down on you. Unfortunately, our phones and cable/dish services are carried through 3rd parties who can interrupt our regularly scheduled lives whenever they chose. If I could build my very own cell tower and run my very own service, it would be a different matter, even then it’s a “frequency” issue(to revive the legend that is Dan Rather,blecchh). Back to the future of CB’s?

    • Jeff Coil

      Yes, so what if those children DIE! Better they die than you be inconvenienced.

      • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

        ………

      • badgerpit

        We all know that government does not give a crap about children, so what are they really trying to accomplish here? You seem eager to find out.

        • $48245650

          Speak for yourself. The government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and most people have hearts.

          • badgerpit

            I agree that most people have hearts, but that is not a desirable trait for top shelf politicians. These are the same politicians that routinely kill children with drones, poison with our foods and waters, abuse with our heartless cps programs, destroy their minds with our ‘education’ system, and on and on. You live in a fantasy if you really believe that our government cares about its people. Judging by your quote it sounds like you have bought into the ‘American Dream’ so clearly you are still sleeping.

          • pgson

            Not to mention, abortion. Yeah, they’re just about the children. No, they use murder as a women’s health “right” issue.

          • $48245650

            Well, I clearly don’t live in whatever world you’re in, so I’m not able to help you here. Best of luck to you.

    • pgson

      Here in MD, my dad got a text on his about some other area than we live in having a police exercise. And yet, we never asked for such a warning. Must be a similar program as out there, meaning it’s probably happening everywhere.

  • Guest

    To disable alerts in iPhone:
    Go to SETTINGS..
    then NOTIFICATIONS..
    scroll all the way to the bottom and deselect Government Alerts.

    • in_awe

      In my new Samsung S4, I can disable all government alerts except “Presidential Alerts”. I can hardly wait for the 1st one of those from Dear Leader.

      • $48245650

        And I’m sure you’d be equally outraged if Mittens was in the White House.

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          Everything I need to know about Dear Leader, I learned from Commies.

          • $48245650

            eagerly awaiting your point

  • SpaceRacer423

    Im fine with the Amber alert being sent to the iPhones.
    However there should be a choice in alert sounds.
    People driving don’t need a loud random distraction.
    Your phone should make the same noise that is set for a text or email alert.
    That said, the real thing we should be worried about is the kids.
    I pray that the are recovered unharmed, and offer my most heartfelt condolences for the loss of their mom.

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      Totally agree about the sound choice. Jeebus. They really need to give us at least that flexibility. The loud random distraction could cause accidents, true, but this means that anyone who is working in a situation requiring physical skills and concentration must now turn their phones off. BTW, I responsibly put my on Do Not Disturb (which was on during this alert – but the alert comes through anyway). I couldn’t help but think about what it was like sitting vigil with my mom while she was dying (and I was occasionally texting out updates to more distant family members). Would be horrifying if she had had to be jarred back into consciousness by this sound. I guess I need a different phone.

      • Guest

        YOU REALLY ARE A SELFISH BASTARD

      • Jeff Coil

        You really are a selfish prick.

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          If ordinary citizens are going to be expected to aid the police in the performance of their duties, they should expect to be able to exercise their right to bear arms like a police officer. After all, this is essentially calling a posse and deputizing everyone with one of these phones. You’re seriously expecting citizens — o pardon me, RESIDENTS- to perform the task of law enforcement without the tools of law enforcement?

          • Nikadile

            I guess the idea is more “volunteer search team” than “volunteer police force” – like rounding up a bunch of neighbors to help search for a lost child/pet/whatever. I don’t think a “resident” would be at all expected to deal with a kidnapper, they’d just be on the lookout for the kids/man/car and call the cops if they saw anything.

          • $48245650

            The AMBER alert asks people to call 911 or local law enforcement, not to shoot anyone. And that’s with good reason.

    • RLEE

      I think it should be a different tone from others so you know to look ASAP but not one that will scare people

    • Jeff Coil

      If that was the case, how many people would ignore it? The whole point is that an Amber Alert is a LIFE AND DEATH EMERGANCY. Following your logic, maybe fire alarms in public schools should play soothing elevator music so they don’t “scare” anybody.

      • SpaceRacer423

        no a fire is an immediate danger.
        An Amber Alert is a way for the police to extend a BOLO to the public.
        Its not like anyone is going to spring outa bed to look out the window for the car or suspect.

  • ce

    It is too bad that a horrible implementation of something that could be useful is going to end up on the immediately disabled feature of the iphone list because people are annoyed that it is waking them up in the middle of the night. I don’t mind getting these alerts during the day when I am out and could possibly be seeing the subject of the amber alert but to be woken up in the middle of the night when I have no hope of even coming close to helping …. well that falls into the massive fail category on software implementation!

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      Yep – the alerts should respect our Do Not Disturb. I do NOT get up at 11 pm to go roam the freeways (ever) looking for murderous kidnappers. I DO drive the freeways four days a week and am happy to join in the search – and I do read all text messages that come in during the night.

      I have lots of responsibilities as it is, and I have a little sleep routine to keep me alert during the day. Fortunately, you can turn the Amber Alerts off – but what a misguided system, to make us have to do that.

      • Jeff Coil

        A little selfish, are we? If your precious sleep is more important than the lives of children, why don’t you JUST TURN THE G-D PHONE OFF.

        • dtom_molonlabe

          Maybe, but isn’t that his right?

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          Really, wtf baby, you expect everybody to go running out of the house in the middle of the night like a firehouse team? You got a issue, man.

          • mike_in_kosovo

            He skipped issues and went straight to entire subscriptions.

  • Sterling Hallbrook

    You know what’s more absolutely terrifying? Many of these people voted for Obama. Twice.

    • Nikadile

      Just out of curiosity, what does Obama have to do with this? Amber Alerts have been around for years, and I kinda doubt he cares too much about them.

  • http://www.nleomf.org/officers/ FlatFoot

    It wasn’t solely Apple iPhones ffs. The manufacturer of cell phones has jack squat to do with any and every alert. It’s Federal Law that applies to all cell phones sold in the U.S. and its territories. I got the very same Amber Alerts on my Android phone. There were a total of two alerts. It emits the same exact same sound tones as when you get broadcast alerts on your TV.

    You can opt in or opt out by simply ticking/unticking a box in the phone settings.

    • $48245650

      It’s Twitchy. You didn’t come here expecting the whole story, did you?

      Of course not. Because all iPhone users are liberal commie socialist hippie stoner marxist slackers or some damn thing

  • anonymoose

    Honestly the fact that you can turn these alerts off but you can’t change the sound they make is retarded. Time for a fix.

    • Jeff Coil

      The point of the annoying sound is to get you to look at your phone.

      • anonymoose

        Dude, I look at my phone if it makes a buzz sound, I look at my phone if it didn’t make ANY sounds, I don’t need a loud alarm at 11pm when I just laid down to bed. I understand that they want to notify as many people as possible so that the kidnapped children are found ASAP, but if we have the choice to NOT get the messages, where is the reason to not change the sounds?

      • $48245650

        You and @disqus_Qva25fMgsz:disqus both have points I agree with.
        The AMBER Alert sound certainly needs to be distinct, but also different than an Emergency Alert System tone. I hate to put it this way, but AMBER Alert situations simply aren’t as severe as, say, a tornado, and therefore they should have a different alert sound. Perhaps a series of beeps that makes “AMBER” in Morse code, and then stops, would suffice.

        Also a quarterly test of the system during non-sleeping hours would calm some nerves.

    • mike_in_kosovo

      You should be able to limit the range, as well. I can’t do much for an Amber Alert from 300 miles away.

  • Jeff H

    Reason #459 I don’t own an iPhone.

    • dtom_molonlabe

      Not just iPhones. It’s most newer phones/wireless carriers on the market in agreement with the local governments.

      Think of a better reason. Im sure 458 are SO great.

      • $48245650

        He’s just looking for something to validate his decision to take a free-with-contract android instead of paying for something better.

        • Carmine Ventura JR

          Iphones have become the smart phone of the senior citizen. They are obsolete . Android has surpassed them years ago.
          Not to mention the iPhones defective antenna problem that is still not fixed.

        • Jeff H

          No, I don’t own/use a smartphone. Could not care less about iPhone vs. Android, or those who do care. I don’t want/need a smartphone. I don’t need technology to validate my manhood. I am beyond placing inappropriate value on “things”

          Sorry you can’t understand that.

          • $48245650

            Props to you, sir. I apologize for misrepresenting you. You just sounded like someone else.

          • Jeff H

            Thank you for a reasoned and polite reply.

        • Jeff H

          No, I don’t own/use a smartphone. Could not care less about iPhone vs. Android, or those who do care. I don’t want/need a smartphone. I don’t need technology to validate my manhood. I am beyond placing inappropriate value on “things”

          Sorry you can’t understand that.

  • Susan Michelle Kirkland

    I had an IPhone and received a couple of alerts when in west Virginia. DUH Freaking HUH people. Its supposed to scare the hades out of you to get your attention. Its an AMBER ALERT. They want you to be on notice because there are lives at stake. Californians amaze me with their stupidity.

    • yummyflan

      Not all Californians are stupid or thinking only of themselves.

      • Rena

        But sadly many do.. I lived there most of my life and they are very spoiled and apathetic.. if it doesn’t concern them personally then they don’t want to be bothered…

  • Readhed

    NOT just IPhones, got it on my Android last night. Scared the beejeezus outta me!

  • DWAAP

    I understand that the noise of the Amber Alert is scary, but think of the children being held against there will, thinking that may be more terrifying!

  • Donna W

    I wouldn’t doubt it..I signed up for a weather alert, and when that thing went off, I thought the world was ending.

  • Kristin

    If these were my kids, I wouldn’t give a crap who got woken up or startled and neither would you.

  • alumin

    I have an older iphone and did NOT get this alert! I guess it’s only on the new phones.

  • PeriMedic

    Serious question: Has an Amber Alert ever found a kid? Or is it one of those, “Let’s do something so everyone feels better”? If it has found kids, then carry on.

    • Jeff Coil

      Short answer: yes. Plenty. Sorry don’t have the actual reports.

      • PeriMedic

        That’s OK; I’ll believe you :) Keep ’em coming then.

      • Joe_Pace

        Jeff, I’ve looked back over your posts via Disqus and while you and I seem to be on the same side politically, you’ve wasted your efforts on a tremendous amount of personal attacks and name-calling toward anyone who disagrees with you.

        That being said, I don’t think we need a blaring sound for these alerts. A popup message is enough.

    • dtom_molonlabe
  • alvin691

    Welcome to your invitation to the collective, thanks to Bloomberg. They did a pilot project in NYC, now the FCC requires it on all phones.

  • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

    Hmm, the suspect looks like a White Mediterranean to me.

  • Carmine Ventura JR

    Go to settings, notifications, turn off amber alerts.
    they should ban this crap anyway.

    • Chaitealover

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want you wasting your precious time keeping an eye out for a pair of kids who have been abducted by the man who just murdered their mother.

      • ImJustAGuy

        He’s a Feral Democrat!
        Beware of Feral Democrats! They do dumb and dangerous things.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        I am not a cop. . . that is what THEY get paid for.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        Thats why we have cops. . . its what we pay THEM for.

    • $48245650

      I’ll leave mine on in case your children get abducted.

      You’re welcome.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        Won’t happen, I am a serious practitioner of the second amendment . And If I need your help I will ask for it.

        Your welcome.

        • $48245650

          What about my welcome?

  • mike_in_kosovo

    They have them in Android, too – I about jumped out of my skin the first time it went off!

  • Guest

    I’ve been receiving Amber Alerts on my cell phone for at least a year. Probably have received 3 during this time period. The sound is annoying for a reason, to get your attention. These knuckle-heads need to get a grip. They only do it when children’s lives are in imminent danger.

  • pgson

    They should instead have patrol cars zoom through the neighborhoods with loud train horns, and bull horn messages. The babied Californians would really be upset then.

  • Guest

    Luckily Android now lets me shut this stupid thing off! I hated that abotu the iPhone but supposedly the new iPhone OS will give you the option to turn it off… As well as any presidential alerts, last thing i give a rats azz about is what MaoBama has to say.

    • yummyflan

      Yeah, those abducted kids are so horrible. They should have been kidnapped at a more opportune time for you. Sorry that an alert woke you up when they might be dead. You’re a sorry specimen of humanity.

      • Guest

        I have a California number but live in Texas, it SURE was helpful wasn’t it?

      • Rena

        Wow talk about no compassion… Hope you never have to go through this hell in your lifetime.. you do know that even though you may be in Texas, this monster could be traveling there. But I guess it would be too much to ask for a few moments of your time to be aware.. or alert as this is what its for…

        • Guest

          blah blah blah….

          • Rena

            Does it make you feel like a big man being able to be so heartless? I pity you…

          • Guest

            You know nothing about me…. I donate A LOT of my time to HAVA, WW Project and St. Judes as well as a big brother… tell me again how heartless I am? I just dont’ want or need the government accessing my phone.

          • Rena

            What are you looking for brownie points. Your attitude about this sad event negates your so called “good deeds”. As I said earlier you dont know where that monster is traveling he might just go there and here is something to back that up now…

            “Shortly after Oregon put out the alert, the Washington State Patrol
            followed suit. Authorities believe that DiMaggio might be heading toward
            Texas or Canada with the two.”

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/08/dad-missing-kids-asks-suspect-to-turn-self-in/#ixzz2bPLXmDVs

            But I guess its still too much to ask for someone of your nature to care about this alert… So much for your good heart, seems pretty dark to me when you can turn your back on someone in danger…

            Its obvious that a few moments of your life is too high a price to become aware of a child who has been kidnapped or missing… And I will tell you again you are heartless if you can’t be “bothered” to just keep a look out for these kids or any who have entered the alert system…

  • conservative2012

    I bet those poor kids are much more terrified. I just hope they’re found safe and soon.

  • Sternness

    I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and I got an alert on my iPhone (same sound) that was warning of a flash flood in the area.

  • yugi

    Chill up, iphone dumbards, I’ve got this alert twice on my Samsung Android phone. It’s not iphone specific.

  • John Smith

    Not only iPhones got this. Any carrier with a smart phone that allows receiving alerts. I got it on my Android. That reminded to me to turn that feature off. But then again, no one is accusing iPhone users of being smart.

  • Alice Liddell

    I can’t believe there are people angry about this! yes the sound might be annoying but these are children’s lives we are talking about!! I will experience am annoying noise or two if it will help bring these children home safe. Shame on all you who dont want to be “bothered”.

  • fletc3her

    The sound came out of multiple iPhones at my house and it took us a moment to locate it. At first I thought the fire alarm was going off. It really needs to be toned down. Honestly just a text message sound would be fine.

  • rambler

    Already did that. That’s when I found out the fed gov alerts could not be blocked. The bigger problem here is that we were not given the option to opt in and that we have to take time to opt out. What gives gov at any level the right to intrude on our phones with messages even if we could benefit from those messages? That is what has to stop.

  • in_awe

    In keeping with the Seattle city council decision to ban the use of the word “citizen” – you are now a “resident” of the USA and subject to the unfettered actions of the federal elites governing us. Get used to it.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    I agree. We are paying for a service (phone) and only a small subset of us (iPhone users) are being subjected to this. Naturally, I turned mine off (I do read the news, but what was I supposed to do at 11 pm when woken up from sleep? Jump in my car – 200 miles away from this event – and go cruise the freeways?) The sad thing is that I was completely outside the targeted range for this Amber Alert, but because AT&T has all customers in my area receiving service out of “Los Angeles”, we still got the alert.

    I figure my extreme grogginess today on the freeways is also a hazard – but I can’t take off work to make up for the lost sleep (have trouble sleeping to begin with, was awake until 4 a.m. after being awakened).

    So, no more Amber alerts for me. I await with grim amusement the kinds of “Presidential alerts” we might get. What could possibly warrant that sound and a nationwide “alert”? Aliens?

  • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

    Michelle needs to remind you: “Remember to drink your Ovaltine!”

  • Nikadile

    I don’t think it’s so much an invasion of privacy and/or property – it’s really more like a pre-recorded phone call that gets made to a large area, albeit via text. Especially because you usually only block a number after you’ve gotten a call from it, and most people would only think to turn off gov’t alerts after they’d gotten one.

    Really, I think that most of the problem would dissipate if the alert tone was less obtrusive, or if people could customize it, because the fact that it startled some people is the entire reason this page exists.

  • rambler

    Yeah…. wouldn’t want to offend all those illegals and non-citizens and yet it is ok to offend citizens. I’m not a “resident” nor and “occupant”. I’ll never accept it.

  • alumin

    yeah….the transformation into Obama’s Amerika! God help us all!

  • fletc3her

    I think you misunderstood. The idea was not to invite “citizens” to city events which are open to everybody because some people might be confused and think it is citizens only.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    Well, that could be because it’s only for 4S and 5 and the update that installed it was very recent.

  • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

    One reason I’m sticking with the old 3G phone, Nokai slider.

  • rambler

    Yuk!

  • rambler

    We should have the choice to receive those messages and not have the gov at any level sending them to us and then having us have to opt out. We can’t opt out of the fed gov messages. By what authority does the gov get to do this? If we accept that they can do this, then what is the next thing the gov will want to do. I pay for my phone. I pay taxes on that phone. I don’t want the gov telling what I will get on my phone. If I want amber alerts, then send me something to sign up for it and I’ll either sign up or I won’t.

  • pgson

    That’s what this message is. However, there’s no guarantee, ever, that this will all it will ever be used for…

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    But pushed through Do Not Disturb settings and with a tone that doesn’t exist for any other message.

    I agree customization of the tone would *definitely* help. If it were a gentle harp tone, I’d have heard it only if I was already half-awake (as opposed to fully asleep – a state which is biochemically elusive to about 1/3 the population, and which it is known, scientificaly, is not retrievable for many once it is lost).

    We are biological beings, after all. Startling people during sleep (or important work – I am hearing from nurses who were in the habit of using iPhones for smartapps related to nursing – who are quite happy to learn how to disable the Amber Alerts).

  • Nikadile

    You can opt out of Amber alerts, and “Imminent Threat” alerts – the only government alert you can’t opt out of are called President alerts, due to something Congress passed called the WARN Act of 1996. As some others have posted, it seems to be fairly simply to switch these alerts off within most phones, and then there’s no further issue for those who don’t want them. Plus, from my understanding Amber alerts cost nothing to be received, so it’s not as if the gov’t is charging us when it sends these messages.
    I don’t know if you have kids or any young ones in your family, but I imagine any parent that has to deal with a kidnapping is very grateful for this system.

  • rambler

    You are missing the point. I have turned it off. The point is that I should get to choose what gets sent to me on my phone by the gov. The fact that I can turn it off doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t get to choose to have it sent in the first place. Just because something seems like a good idea doesn’t mean the gov gets to do it. Congress passes all sorts of crap and dumps it on the public, that doesn’t make it acceptable. I’m tired of the gov being a parent. I’m not looking to the gov to parent me.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    Most of us have kids. But, I am confident that the big signs by the side of the freeway and the newspapers and internet news are enough.

    No one cares about the cost. Jeez.

  • Nikadile

    I understand that most people don’t need their government looking out for them 24/7. However, I am also willing to bet that these alerts have saved lives. Given that these messages are sent out to be helpful rather than a hindrance (alerting people to kidnappings, terrorist threats, serious incoming natural disasters, etc.), I think that giving each individual person the ability to opt out of most of the alerts is as far as the options should go.
    Just because some people don’t particularly like our government doesn’t mean this alert system should needlessly become more complex. This could prevent people who need the information from getting it, which may ultimately (in worst-case scenarios) cost lives.
    If you’re in the same boat as @pgson and are worried that the government may try to exploit these alerts, then I’m afraid I don’t really see how that would work.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    ITA. And now, everyone I know has turned it off. Good going, government (use some rationality!)

  • rambler

    You still don’t get it. Create the program and have people opt in. Let them choose. Having people choose doesn’t make it more complex. Why can’t we choose. It has nothing to do with liking or disliking the gov, it is about choosing and not having the gov choose for us. I’m not worried about exploiting the alerts. I don’t want the gov involved with deciding that they can contact my phone because they think they have a good reason to. Can you understand the difference?

    It is not about disliking the gov. It is not about whether or not it is a good thing to have such a program. It is not about exploiting alerts. I’m not worried. I’m angry that the gov thinks that it has the right to implement a program without my consent that involves my phone and then to get rid of it I must opt out.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    No one has any evidence as to whether pushed night time alerts save lives – or end them.

    Amber Alerts in general, yes, there’s data. But most of us find out about it through highway-side illuminated billboards and the splashing of victim images/car info on highway-side illuminated billboards.

    Very few people will get up at 11 pm at night and go driving around looking for a kidnapper when they were just asleep. Nor should they.

    In all civilized nations, such announcements are confined to reasonable hours. Be reasonable.

    Just wait if you want to see how the “government” exploits these alerts (if you work for the government, as I do, you might already have a suspicion).

  • Nikadile

    No, I get what you’re saying. It just boils down to us having different opinions about “I don’t want the gov involved with deciding that they can contact my phone because they think they have a good reason to”, because as long as the message is actually helpful I don’t really care. At least for the time being, anyways.

    And besides, what’s another government-sanctioned plan involving our phones going to hurt? They’re already listening in on all of our calls…
    Kidding.

  • rambler

    You’re rationalizing. It it the principle of what the gov did. There is noting stopping the gov from reactivating the state alert app that phone owners have opted to shut off either. The fed gov alert apt CAN NOT BE DEACTIVATED! By the time you do care about what the gov did, the damage will have been done.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    But it’s not helpful. People driving around groggy (or be jolted into an accident = not helpful) Just because we can’t quantify the bads to this practice doesn’t mean the goods outweigh the bads.

    It remains to be seen whether 1) this type of alert produces any results – so far NOTHING and 2) whether accident rates climb again as we get more and more of them.

    Well, a few people will be getting more and more of them…not thinking people.

  • Nikadile

    I see what you mean, but I can’t help but think people are getting paranoid about this. I know it’s mainly the fact that it’s something no one signed up for and we can’t fully get out of it, which sounds bad and has the potential to be distopian-ly awful. If the alerts were just about anything else they would skeeve me out too.

    For instance, if the alerts were politically charged or something like that, then I would definitely understand feeling brainwashed by these unwelcomed messages you can’t get away from. (Is warping the alerts to meet someone’s agenda what you meant by “the damage” the gov’t could do?)
    But the fact of the matter is, at least for now, these are missing children we’re talking about, and I don’t think the alerts are worth getting worked up over in this way.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    ITA. And, it will affect my purchase of a future smartphone. Or a smartphone at all. Who needs it?

  • rambler

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    Yes, you’re talking about missing children and that is exactly what the gov wants you to focus on. It is a distraction. You need to get up to speed on what behavioral scientists do and why they do it. It is not about being paranoid. We have laws in this country and we are supposed to have individual rights. When those individual rights are denied for the good of the collective and laws are violated by the gov, what do you think happens next? It’s not about the alerts. It’s about getting the public to accept intrusions into their lives.

    Since you care so much about the missing children and you think that the alerts are all about that, then what do you plan to do when you get one? How does your getting an alert help find that child? Plan on going out and looking for that child? Will the rest of the public run out the door to help find that child? Or will the alert be wasted? How many intrusions will you accept into your life as long as some “for the public good” is attached to it? How much will you give up so as to provide someone else with a benefit when designed? How many of your rights will you give up?

  • Nikadile

    I guess I just don’t see how the occasional gov’t message equates to the alienation of personal rights. Would it be any different if the alerts were sent out in the form of small sidebars at the bottom of your TV screen, or automated house phone calls, or as an interruption on the radio?

    What else would you label a government “intrusion”? People who work for the government? Is the gov’t intruding every time a criminal investigator takes a new case, or an architect designs a new building? It might be a stretch, but many of them are backed (monetarily) by the gov’t just as much as the alerts are.

    I’m trying to look past the so-called superficial good intentions, but what am I supposed to see if I don’t think of the alerts as intrusions?

    And no, the alerts aren’t trying to gather a search team. They have volunteers for that. To me, at least, they’re simply “alerting” the people of an area to nearby threats, so they can have more informed eyes aware and perhaps on the lookout.

  • rambler

    Alerts in my area have been put out on electronic road signs, over the radio and on the TV already. Guess that wasn’t enough.

    Investigating a crime is not the same as phone alerts. What does an architect designing a building have to do with the gov deciding that they need an ability to contact every phone with out getting permission? A gov intrusion is when the gov violates the Constitution and the bill of rights. Any time individual rights gets replaced with the good of the group. The gov has gone way beyond what it is allowed to do and the public doesn’t seem to care.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    The fact that you don’t see how it equates to an erosion of personal rights makes me ponder whether I should, in any way, attempt to protect the personal rights of others.

    You simply don’t see how reasonable people who were formerly in favor of helping kids might now do the opposite. But, if that’s what you intend, go for it – you will reap what you sow.

    The world will not be better for this practice, many will tune out or become downright negative regarding government intervention in their private lives. If you don’t see the downside to this, you have very little political or cultural imagination.

    At any rate, the future is already upon us. Every single person I talked to today (I work at a schooL) has opted out and is considering changing cell phone operators…good going.

    Because we all know that teachers should be alienated and bad guys not alienated…

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    Yes, it would be different. The Supreme Court has ruled that public spaces include airwaves (someone has to be in charge of them – and private individuals cannot expect to be “guarded” against radio waves flowing through the space they own (or television waves or satellite emission).

    As a result, television broadcasters must participate in emergency broadcast emissions. So, yes, a ticker across the bottom of television shows would be appropriate and involve no change in civil rights. But, the fact that only *some* people (who have purchased a particular device) end up with these late night messages (even if they are sitting vigil with an elderly person who needs sleep) is invasive and not at all within the public domain.

    At any rate, several days later, every person I’ve talked to (and many are parents of small kids) have now opted out. So it is a failure on many levels.

  • Nikadile

    Exactly my points. Alerts already have been put up in different places, but nobody seems to worry about those. And of course they’re not the same, I was wondering if every interaction from the gov’t counts as an intrusion.

    But I still don’t get how being alerted to something wrong by the gov’t violates our rights. Where in the Constitution/BoR does it say that it is the individual’s right to not be contacted by the gov’t ever? Besides, average people have to ability to contact huge numbers of phones without getting permission from anybody as well. Why’s this so different?

    One of our inalienable right is the pursuit of happiness. However, we do not tolerate people who are made happy through, say, mass murder. Is it bad for the murderer to be locked up, since his right as an individual to be happy is being violated for the sake of the group? Or is this “intrusion” forgivable?

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    It was enough – and I know that’s your point.

    It is godawful in terms of intrusion on our rights. This is precisely why most people don’t care…about kids or abductees or much else. I never thought I’d consider joining the disaffected, but after two days of less-than-normal functioning, I have to say I don’t regret my decision to opt out.

    Yes, losing sleep is bad. Very bad in many cases. And affects others (the ones we are entrusted to care for…)

  • rambler

    Yes, the alerts are already out there. The fed gov crossed a line when the alerts could be sent directly to my phone and I can’t get them removed. It is clear it doesn’t bother you and you have a limited idea of what the Constitution says.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    Can you really not seen the difference between a public sign (even one that is not provided for by code) and using my own paid-for device to “alert” me?

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    Because there’s a big difference between using public space (roadside) and private space (my bed). I’m sorry you can’t see the difference. Your inability to see it makes me feel even more protective of my private rights – you’d apparently allow treading anywhere, including someone’s deathbed or sacred moment, to have…what? What’s your goal?

  • Nikadile

    Then by all means, please enlighten me.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    I give you the final word.

  • rambler

    I doubt that it is possible. You’d rather cling to what you want to believe.

  • Nikadile

    I’d like to see you try. You keep saying that these alerts are violations, and yet you really haven’t given me any solid reasons or evidence yet.

  • WorldsAStageDrK

    You aren’t able to see reason or calculate evidence.

    But that’s good to know, too. Feel good that you’ve helped many people opt out and feel even more suspicious. If that was your goal, you achieved it.

    On another level, since it’s just iPhones right now, think about what that means for Apple jobs. Does that concern you at all? Because…there are other phones out there…

  • in_awe

    Yep. I’m sure that was precisely the reason. Just like when I was in marketing in the mortgage industry ten years ago and we were prohibited from ever referring to “the American Dream” or use the word “American” because it was discriminatory.

    BTW – the Seattle council in the same meeting also banned the use of the phrase “brown bag” in any city meetings, documents or publications. I guess they wanted to make sure that any white bags or plastic bags or red bags or yellow bags or mesh bags or multi-colored bags residing in Seattle felt comfortable attending city events, too.

    Some of these same type of people have taken to calling illegal aliens “undocumented citizens”. It never stops with their kind.

  • Nikadile

    I completely agree with you. That the alert tones cannot be changed was a huge oversight, and needs to be changed if this program is going to go anywhere.
    As you’ve said, people have personal lives and (even if I don’t think the alerts themselves are a government intrusion) the obnoxious tones are definitely incredibly invasive.

    Not that it matters, but a few posts ago you asked me what my goal was. In a nutshell, I was more or less just trying to figure out other people’s (or at least one other person’s) take on this, and ended up being unintentionally inflammatory.
    Not to dismiss anything’s importance, but I’ve since gotten kind of tired of this debate, as to me it’s not worth the pages of text we’ve given it in a place where no one who can do anything about it will see it.

    tl;dr – Something needs to change. Will it? Who knows.