A seemingly great technological step forward in disaster communication with the public is thrown under the political bus:
President Obama could soon have the ability to personally text message every single cell-phone-toting American — whether they like it or not — with “critical emergency alerts” under a new federal program that civil libertarians and political opponents say is a Big Brother-like intrusion posing a high risk of political abuse.
Federal officials in New York yesterday unveiled the three-tiered emergency alert system that would blast messages about Amber Alerts, impending weather disasters and terror threats to mobile devices.
Cell-phone users could opt out of most alerts if they want to, but not the texter-in-chief’s presidential pages.
“It’s like the state rep sending out mailings about how wonderful they are,” said Tad Kasperowicz of the Quincy Tea Party. “President Obama says,’Here come the high winds and the thunderstorms’ and it’s not really an emergency, but, hey, he gets his name out to every cell phone in the area. I can see that. Absolutely. There’s potential for abuse there.”
Sure, there is potential for abuse…if you believe the party affiliation of the people currently in office will always hold that office. In other words, where is the political advantage for Obama to start such a system if it can be politically exploited when a Republican will at some point come into control of it?
Perhaps this is just the natural, and extremely positive, evolution of a public advisory system that had been lagging behind technological developments. However, I may just be naive…