If you own a smartphone, you know all about the text message ad pushes that most people just instantly delete in sheer annoyance. On Monday, Florida smartphone users were messaged a state-wide Amber Alert.
Certain wireless customers learned the hard way about a new system triggering smartphones to make a noise when an Amber Alert is issued. An alert issued just before 2am Monday morning set off cellular alarms throughout much of the state, much to their overall irritation.
The notification was about a girl missing from Immokalee who was later found safe.
Now, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is apologizing (sort of) but stressing the importance of the system as it encourages residents who don’t want to be woken up to opt out of the program, according to BOCA News Now. This is much like the application already used for Android phones and iPhones that stops ad pushes when it’s activated.
FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Carol Frederick defends the new system:
“In the first few hours that a child goes missing, it’s key that we have as many eyes as possible looking for the child so we have a swift recovery.”
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tod Goodyear said a quick response is important in finding a missing child, and any technology that spreads the message is helpful:
“If we have a true missing child, the first few hours of that is very, very important to the safe return of that child home. Anything we can do that gets word out to as many people as possible is going to be an aid to that child.”
Florida Today states how Frederick claims the effectiveness of the automatic smartphone Amber alerts depends on how many people decide to turn them off.