Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seizing Control And Rebooting American Communications

Remember that?
It's about to change.

This is a test - this is only a test - in the event of a real government takeover of your communications systems you would be instructed what to do - where to go - and more importantly that resistance is futile.

Federal authorities are going to shut off all television and radio communications simultaneously at 2:00PM EST TODAY to complete the first ever test of the national Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Here is what the DHS notice said:
The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.

The first Nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System will be carried out on November 9, 2011.

The FCC, in conjunction with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NWS), implements the EAS at the federal level. The President has sole responsibility for determining when the EAS will be activated at the national level, and has delegated this authority to the director of FEMA. FEMA is responsible for implementation of the national-level activation of the EAS, tests, and exercises. The NWS develops emergency weather information to alert the public about imminent dangerous weather conditions.

The FCC's role includes prescribing rules that establish technical standards for the EAS, procedures for EAS participants to follow in the event The EAS is activated, and EAS testing protocols. Additionally, the FCC ensures that the EAS state and local plans developed by industry conform to FCC EAS rules and regulations.

Cool huh?
The government, via the President and FEMA, will seize control of all communications as it pleases them.
I'll bet you feel safer already!

Yes, yes, yes... we always had an emergency broadcast system...which had television and radio broadcasters, satellite radio and satellite television providers, cable television and wireline video providers all involved in that system. It worked fine and information was disseminated through their alerts... now it seems it will be centrally controlled. Also, whatever new software and hardware is involved in this shut down and "rebooting' of our communications is anyone's guess.

Now supposedly - in the event of a "major crisis", the American people will be told with one voice, at the same time, about an "emergency". The creepy part is that this all begs the question: Who will have control of the EAS when that day comes, and what their message will be?

11/9/11 Update:
Apparently - the test didn't work very well -
“The weaknesses exposed by today’s test of the emergency alert system are unacceptable. Government and media carriers must work together to make sure the system does what it is intended to do, which is to transmit a nationwide message from the President in a crisis. I commend FEMA for carrying out this long-overdue, first-ever, nationwide test of the system. Without it, we would never have known the extent of the system’s vulnerabilities.” - Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits…”