U.S. gov’t mandates special chip in all cellphones; users can’t opt out of presidential messages

According to The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) is a new system that allows users who own an enabled mobile device to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. The alerts, currently being rolled out in New York City and Washington D.C. and expected to be in place in those cities by the end of 2011, would be done through a special chip to be installed on new handheld devices. It will use GPS technology and will send some of the alerts based on the location of the phone user. The alert system is expected to be instituted in rest of the U.S. by April 2012. Certain high-end cell phones are PLAN-enabled, but starting next year, all cellphones will be required to have the chip that receives alerts.

The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act requires participating wireless carriers to activate PLAN technology by a deadline determined by the FCC, which is April 2012. Participants that will offer PLAN ahead of schedule include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

How Does PLAN Work?
• Authorized national, state or local government officials send alerts to PLAN.
• PLAN authenticates the alert, verifies that the sender is authorized, and sends it to participating wireless carriers.
• Participating wireless carriers push the alerts from cell towers to mobile phones in the affected area. The alerts appear like text messages on mobile devices.

These “text-like messages” are geographically targeted. For example, a customer living in downtown New York would not receive a threat alert if they happen to be in Chicago when the alert is sent. Similarly, someone visiting downtown New York from Chicago on that same day would receive the alert. This requires a PLAN enabled mobile device and participation by the wireless provider in PLAN.

Users are automatically enrolled, as PLAN allows government officials to send “text-like messages” to all subscribers with PLAN-enabled devices if their wireless carrier participates in the program. Users do not sign up for this service. Users do not pay to receive “text-like messages” from PLAN which will be accompanied by a unique attention signal and vibration, which is particularly helpful to people with hearing or vision-related disabilities.

According to FEMA, users will receive three types of alerts from PLAN: (1) alerts issued by the president; (2) alerts involving imminent threats to safety of life; and (3) Amber Alerts. Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block alerts involving imminent threats to safety of life and/or Amber Alerts, but not presidential alerts. Presidential alerts are required of cellphone users and cannot be turned off.

MacDailyNews Take: We get “text-like messages” all day long; no “special chip” required. What else, if anything, does this “special chip” do? Is it just us or did the slope just get slipperier?

Yeah, yeah, we know: This is for our protection. It’s only for public safety. The government chip is “special.” Take off the tinfoil hats. This is a “Good Thing™. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

We have to wonder, though. What’s next? Maybe we’d all be “safer” if the government could use their federally-mandated “special chip” to turn on your cellphone cameras in “an emergency” in order to get a look at what’s going on around you? And your phones’ microphones, so the government can hear, too? How else could government-mandated special chips be used to make us “safer?”

Has anyone read Nineteen Eighty-Four recently?

You know what? The world is a dangerous place and you can’t protect everyone from everything. We’d rather retain what freedoms we have left and take our chances than to be forced to carry special government-mandated chips and receive presidential “text-like messages” that we can’t turn off, if we simply want to carry our cellphones.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

Related articles:
Apple open to lawsuit over location data collection – May 11, 2011
Apple, Google detail mobile privacy policies before US Senate subcommittee – May 10, 2011
Recap of Apple and Google’s testimony before Senator Al Franken’s mobile privacy hearing – May 10, 2011
Apple, Google to face U.S. Senator Al Franken’s subcommittee in mobile privacy hearing – May 9, 2011
Apple’s Bud Tribble to testify in U.S. Senator Al Franken’s Judiciary Subcommittee hearings on mobile privacy – May 6, 2011
Apple and Google head to Washington D.C. for hearing – May 6, 2011
Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 – May 4, 2011
Apple, Google set to testify at U.S. Congressional hearing on location data to begin May 10th – May 2, 2011
Steve Jobs: Apple isn’t tracking anyone; looks forward to testifying before Congress – April 27, 2011
Apple releases Q&A on Location Data: ‘Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone’ – April 27, 2011
U.S. Senate Democrat Franken to hold mobile privacy hearing; Apple, Google summoned – April 26, 2011
Illinois Attorney General Madigan requests meeting with Apple, Google – April 25, 2011
Apple sued for privacy invasion, computer fraud over iOS location data collection, storage – April 25, 2011
Steve Jobs on iOS location tracking: We don’t track anyone, but Droid does – April 25, 2011
Apple iPhone collects location info even when location services are turned off by user – April 25, 2011
Android phones regularly transmit location data to Google ‘at least several times an hour’ – April 22, 2011
House Democrat questions legality of Apple’s iPhone, iPad location tracking – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iOS location tracking file caused by a bit of unfinished code? – April 21, 2011
U.S. Senator Al Franken demands answers from Apple’s Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking – April 21, 2011
Expert: iPhone tracking story is nothing new and Apple is not collecting the data – April 21, 2011
‘untrackerd’ jailbreak utility blocks iOS from storing recorded iPhone location data – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iPhone tracks everywhere you go; stores the info in secret file on the device – April 20, 2011

117 Comments

    1. Some of their comments indicated that they are all for it, as long as it’s the government tracking people. They don’t need a GPS chip in every phone just to notify people of a disaster in a particular area. They can just broadcast from all towers in that area. The real aim here is to be able to track everybody all the time. Schumer and Leahy are all over this.

      And a note to Mr. Schumer: No, it is not against the law to attempt to avoid DUI checkpoints, even if you’re driving drunk, but most especially if you’re not. I have a right to choose not lose minutes or hours of my life being questioned by the police without probable cause by avoiding those checkpoints, which are illegal under the 4th Amendment.

    2. “All Citizens are to go to and remain in their homes until further notice. There is nothing for you to worry about.”

      “We control the vertical. We control the horizontal.”

    1. From the FCC website:

      “In 2006, Congress passed the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act, requiring carriers that choose to participate to activate PLAN technology by a deadline determined by the FCC, which is April 2012. Participants that will offer PLAN at least two calendar quarters ahead of schedule in New York City are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Ninety percent of New York subscribers who have a PLAN-capable mobile device in these cities will be able to receive PLAN alerts by the end of 2011.
      For more information on PLAN (Personal Localized Alerting Network), visit the Federal Communications Commission website at http://www.fcc.gov or follow @FCC on Twitter.”

      2006? But that occurred during the Bush administration! Two years before Bush finally had to leave office thanks to the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

      Nice knee jerk reaction, a-holes!

      1. Not so. It is one thing to receive alerts based on the tower locations you are near. It is another thing to have the government tracking our devices! Don’t be blind to what this group is trying to do “a-hole”. Did you not see what just happened with the people revolting over seas? Wouldn’t the government like to know where all the people are all the time?

        ALERT AND TRACK ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

        1. To Jersey Trader

          It bears repeating

          The Commercial Alert System was introduced by republican Jim Demint during the Bush administration. Furthermore, the plan was passed with high support by the republican controlled congress in 2006 and signed by President Bush.

          “Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress (Warning, Alert, and Response Network
          Act, or WARN Act, as signed into law as Title VI of P.L. 109-347) to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle alerts. The law also required the
          establishment of a committee to provide the FCC with recommendations regarding the transmittal of emergency alerts by commercial mobile service providers to their subscribers. Committee recommendations provided the structure for a Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), regulated by the FCC. Under the timetable agreed to by the FCC and FEMA, CMAS is scheduled to become operational by April 7, 2012.”

          “In response to a requirement in the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act, or WARN Act, as
          signed into law (Title VI of P.L. 109-347), the FCC worked with commercial mobile service providers to create a Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) that would be able to relay alerts
          through cell phones. In addition to presidential alerts, which clearly are a federal responsibility, the service would transmit emergency alerts generated by state, local, and other non-federal authorities. The gateway for CMAS is being developed as part of IPAWS. FEMA and the FCC have committed to a timetable for development of IPAWS and CMAS that is intended to deliver mobile alert messages to consumers by April 7, 2012.10”

          http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL32527.pdf

      1. 2006? Congress passed…

        First, Bush was in the Executive branch. He could only sign into law, legislation passed by Congress. The House in 2006, after the fall election was controlled by Democrats and it gave us that ditzy, free fall spending, bitch Nancy Pelosi and her banana republic style of governing.

        Dumbass!

            1. You mean it is a big government doing.

              Wish we would all come together and realize who the enemy is. Dems and Pubs are the same animal with different stripes. Read 1984.

            2. Word, indeed.
              For all the posturing, the Rethugnicans are the party of intrusive government. They want to script a bunch of non-medical BS into what a Doctor has to say to a patient seeking an abortion. Yes, read a script of non medical and unsubstantiated ( by scientific evidence ) nonsense.
              Nothing like big government telling a doctor what he/she can tell the patient- word for word.

        1. Oh please. Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy, that never made any jobs, did more to increase the deficit (and continue to do so) than almost anything else.

    2. This has absolutely nothing to do with Obama, About 15 seconds of research will tell you this was sponsored by Jim DeMint and passed virtually unanimously in Congress in 1996, and accompanied by an executive order by then President Bush.

      This is basically the Emergency Broadcast System (that’s been on television and radio for half a century) updated for new devices. There will be no political messages. Only emergency bulletins, severe weather advisories and Amber Alerts (and you can opt out of the second two).

      If you want to blame someone, blame DeMint.
      Click this link for actual, you know, facts.

      1. Clinton was president in 1996. Media matters is nothing more than a ext. of the far left Soro’s, not exactly factual or unbiased. And I don’t care which party tries to implement something like this, this is big brother ruling over you. Saying you can’t opt out is a totalitarian government ruling over you, I don’t live in Cuba, this is suppose to be a open and free country. And if it’s not ok for companies to track you then it’s not ok for the government, no matter who is running it.

        1. “Media matters is nothing more than a ext. of the far left Soro’s”

          That comment is typical of someone who subscribes to far right propaganda. Research Media Matters and George Soros via a few non-partisan fact check sites and get back to us.

          1. Oh yes media matters is completely non-partisan and doesn’t promote any type of far left propaganda. It’s the same tired story if someone questions the far left, your your now subscribing to far right propaganda.

            So the far left never promotes propaganda, distortions, hypocrisy, misquotes & out right lies about the facts or plays a consistent double standard? Sure.

    3. Leave it to a non-fact-checking likely conservative to direct blame towards Obama. Try researching the issue which will certainly contain the names Bush and DeMint.

    4. And the Patriot Act was free kittens and lollipops for Americans? How is this anything but an extension of said act? Gotta love the zealots. (I was going to say “unthinking zealots”, but that’s redundant.

      1. “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
        There are inferiors on every side, don’t kid yourselves…

  1. MacDailyNews, go Tea Party! Yea! I got to go and put my tinfoil hat on to protect me from the aliens…they are watching us you know. Have you read “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” lately? That’s the book you should have referenced.

    1. MDN is a funny read, usually..but once in a while the entire/selected staff show their REAL TEA PARTY leaning in, often uninformed, rants about politics, liberty and anything hinting of progressive mentality.
      would be so nice if MDR could simply do what it does well. report on apple/tech matters in a silly, funny way and leave more weighty discussions about values to people less biased who attempt, at least, to look with perspective on what they write about.

  2. Okay so if Apple, AT&T, and Google are tracking my current location that is bad…but if Uncle Sam wants to track my location so it can send me mandatory messages that is good.
    Are presidential campaign messages mandatory too?

    just my $0.02

    1. Now this “inquiry” on Google and Apple’s cell phone tracking makes more sense: “How are you tracking your customers? What is the best … er … most invasive … er … advanced … er … UM, How does it work? (Speak slowly, we’re taking notes. And try to use words that even Stewart Smalley could understand.)”

      I can’t wait until my first government issued “text-like” message. Let me guess: “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”

    2. Yes, you will be getting campaign messages, some subtle and others blatant. And no doubt you will be required to acknowledge receipt. And pay for all this self-serving BS.

    1. You, sir, are a rube.

      “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

    2. Wake the fuck up! Gov doesn’t give a rats ass about your life and of those you love! They just want MORE control over you more of your freedom and want to take over everything you think, buy, go or do and that is getting more obvious every day! If you can’t see that, you need to get out of that closet you’ve been living in…

  3. Wow. Anyone else see any problems with this. Didn’t the government just drag in Apple and Google over their possible tracking of users. Apple just gave us the ability to turn it off and opt out. Maybe they would like to just put a chip in our head and get if over with. Maybe jump straight to the Biblical “Mark of the Beast” that we were warned about.

    1. Actually, ‘1984’ was Orwell’s take on the world when he wrote the book in 1948.. He simply transposed the 4 and 8..

      So, instead of “off by 27 years”, he’s been “on” for 63!

      Oh, the humanity.. Like lemmings to the shore?

Add Your Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.