Mobile phone emergency alert system to launch in US

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks near Ground Zero about the new alert system New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the emergency system near Ground Zero in Manhattan

A new mobile telephone emergency alert system will be launched in New York City and Washington DC by the end of the year, US officials have said.

The system will allow the federal government and local authorities to reach people on their mobile phones to warn them of imminent danger.

Messages from the US president or information about missing children would also be sent through the system.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there would be no charge to users.

'Avoiding panic'

Mr Bloomberg unveiled the Personal Localized Alerting Network, or Plan, on Tuesday, explaining that the system will implemented through a special chip installed on new mobile phones.

Officials anticipate that the ability to receive the notifications will spread as mobile users update their phones.

Speaking at a news conference near Ground Zero - the site of the attacks on New York on 9/11 - Mr Bloomberg was accompanied by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Mr Genachowski said every mobile phone carrier is expected to participate.

Carriers may allow their clients to opt out of receiving notifications from local officials and information about missing children, but receiving presidential alerts will be mandatory.

The system works through GPS technology and will send some of the alerts based on a user's location.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features

  • Krak des ChevaliersSitting targets

    How ancient treasures in Syria are being bombed to pieces


  • Mesut Ozil's tattoo reads "Only God can judge me"Ink explained

    Nine World Cup players' tattoos decoded, and one who refuses


  • Putting a coin in supermarket trolleyMinor annoyance

    Why are Morrisons getting rid of coin-locks on trolleys?


  • Sekhemka statueSelling out?

    The councils tempted to cash in on their art collections


  • Google sweetsName game

    Would Google have made it as BackRub?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.