If you don’t want “presidential alerts” on your smartphone, you are probably out of luck — but there are a few things you can do to try to mitigate the effects of the system on your phone.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced plans last week to implement a “presidential alert system” to be used in the case of national emergencies. The system, similar to the one currently in place that delivers Amber Alerts or severe weather alerts to your phone, would bring un-blockable text messages and voice-mail messages — directly from the president — to your phone whenever it is deemed necessary.
The system, originally scheduled to begin in the wake of Hurricane Florence, has been pushed back to October 3.
The plan wasn’t met with widespread enthusiasm, however, as fears were raised by critics that the president may potentially use the system in the same way that he uses Twitter — that is, as a way to promote his policies, or to belittle his opponents. Even in the event that it was only used for true emergencies, many Americans simply don’t want President Trump being able to push messages to their smartphones.
So if you don’t want Donald Trump to be able to send your alert messages, what can you do? Not much, really, according to Lifehacker writer Beth Skwarecki.
There are, however, a few things you can try.
Turn Off All Emergency Alerts
It is possible on most smartphone operating systems to disable all emergency alerts. If you use an iPhone, go to Settings, then Notifications, and then scroll to the bottom, where you’ll see government alerts. Disable them. On Android phones, go to Settings, and then Sound, and then Emergency Alerts. Disable them. On Samsung devices, look in your Message apps settings.
If it works, you’ll know on October 3 at 2:18 p.m. Eastern Time, when the system is due to be tested.
“Enjoy the peace while it lasts.”
It probably won’t work, says Skwarecki. And even if it does, you can expect the government to direct your manufacturer to “fix” it.
Put Your Phone On ‘Do Not Disturb’ Or Turn It Off During The Test
This is a temporary fix, of course, and it won’t block presidential alerts for all time. And, once you disable DND or turn your phone back on, the test alert will still be there. But any port in a storm, says Skwarecki.
Silence Your Phone
Again, this won’t prevent the president from being able to send his message to your phone, but at the very least, you won’t have to hear that eardrum-shattering tone that you get during emergency weather alerts and/or Amber Alerts.
Give FEMA A Piece Of Your Mind
It looks like your best option is to simply tell FEMA that you’re not interested. They aren’t going to enable/disable presidential alerts on a case-by-case basis, of course, But they did ask the public for feedback on the system. And if you’re not for the idea, you can email your thoughts to FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov.