AT&T Customers: Why Can’t We Turn These Damn Obama Alerts Off Our iPhones!?

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A software update to recent models of the Apple iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will soon have AT&T cellular customers scratching their heads, trying to figure out a way to decline “Presidential” alerts from automatically appearing on their screens.

They can stop trying, because those alerts are “supposed” to be there; and there’s nothing you can do about it — seriously.

AT&T released this bulletin on its consumer blog earlier this week, advising people whose iPhones run iOS 6.1 and higher that they have no choice about declining an automatic, “mandatory” software update that enables push notifications for government-issued safety alerts and Presidential alerts. But, it advises, customers at least can turn off all the government alerts by switching off the “Notifications” option in their phones’ settings menu… except for Presidential alerts.

There’s no declining a message from the President, as the company’s bulletin unceremoniously makes clear:

These are government-issued safety messages that include AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts – such as man-made or natural disasters, and Presidential alerts.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are part of the FCC’s CMAS program. You may turn off alerts (except for Presidential alerts) if you choose.  Go to Settings >Notifications>Turn On/Off.

CMAS is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Commercial Mobile Telephone Alerts system, adopted in 2008 for the “facilitating [of] the ability of consumers to receive emergency alerts through their wireless phones” from Federal, State, tribal and local governments.

While the FCC’s website describes recipients of these text-based messages as “subscribers,” it dutifully notes: “Subscribers would automatically receive these alerts if they have a CMAS-compatible handset. There would be no subscriber opt-in requirements.” If you can’t opt in, then guess what? You can’t opt out.

In other words, your phone company is the “subscriber.” As a customer, all you’re good for is funding, to pay for the use of a phone that’s surveilled, taxed and enabled to receive one-way instructions from the elected class and its enforcers.

If only the phone in President Barack Obama’s hands had no option for declining “mandatory” messages from the people…

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • independent thinker

    “If only the phone in President Barack Obama’s hands had no option for declining “mandatory” messages from the people…”

    Now that is an idea. Too bad we can not make it happen. Any good hackers out there who could re-program obama’s cell phone or phones?

    • MexicansaysLibtardsRpukes

      Buy Unlocked phones that is unbranded no At&t/T-mobile logo, That has no bloatware I hate contract phones, you can find unlock phones at decent price you have to search the web which online stores has better deals!

      • Stephine

        Better yet. Fudge these stupid phones. I have gotten by without a cell phone/smart phone, never had them in the old days and don’t plan to have one anytime soon. I know there are folks who say what if an emergency happened. Deal with it.
        Many years ago going over the Rockies my car broke down. After assessing the problem was not repairable by me, grabbed the purse and survival gear and started walking. Eventually came to a gas station and made a couple phone calls, no big deal. Got the car towed and repaired. 2 days later was on my way again.

        • 5alive5

          Stephine,
          I have an old lotus flip phone with unlimited text n 550 minutes a month. I never use all of them and most of the people I converse with are ok with text. I don’t get anything that I don’t ok! f I have an emergency on the road or away from home I’m covered.

    • 5alive5

      I drool at the thought!!!!

  • Darral

    The problem here is propaganda one sided North Korea does it so does Cuba, Hitler did it and so did Stalin and now we have the Democratic party doing it, If you tell a lie often enough long enough the people will believe it, Propaganda lies forced down the throats of the American people well just at@t customers for NOW

  • mari

    Don’t we hear from him enough? What does he ever say that I need to hear? How many of these alerts will he be putting out? What is his modus operandi, his hidden agenda, and his authorization? He is without doubt a pompous a$$ with a messianic complex.

    In case history repeats itself, we should learn this little song and dance:

    When I say, “Sieg Heil” you all answer Heil Obama. It would be nice if you gave a little salute and clicked your heels together while you say it. Of course if you are a Jew or a Christian, don’t bother as you will be arrested for doing so.

  • guest

    while I would think these alerts might be helpful, it is intrusive

    it should not be mandatory

    and someone somewhere will figure a jail break for it

  • PoodleSheep

    In the history of the program, there has never been a presidential alert sent. Presidential alerts are things like “Russia just nuked NYC”. You can opt out of the amber alerts if they bother you. If they misuse the system and send “eat your veggies” as a presidential alert, then you might have a valid complaint.

  • PennyRose

    I think if we buy the phone, we pay our bill, we should have a say in what comes across our own phone, nothing should be mandatory. Get rid of AT&T, now that is a good solution.

  • marylou

    Who ordered this …did ATT agree for a fee or…what?
    I don’t need or want a presidential alert on my telephone.
    We should have to opt in….not have to wipe it out!
    This phone is history…I don’t need an OBAMAPHONE….I pay for mine!

    And you don’t think BIG BROTHER OBAMA is stalking you 24/7.
    Wake up!

  • Nick

    Well, guess it’s time to start going off grid!

  • WTS/JAY

    AT&T Customers: Why Can’t We Turn These Damn Obama Alerts Off Our iPhones!?

    That’s a no-brainer. Take a sledge to the damn things. That should stop the alerts!

  • IsThisAmerica

    I will be so happy when August gets here. My T-Mobile contract will be up and I’m going to cancel it. I don’t want to pay monthly for 500 minutes I never use and lose. I only want it for emergency, pay as I need. No contract ever again. I can find somewhere else to put that money, like in my pocket.

  • Guest

    This reminds me of Orwell’s, “1984” novel, where ones television was constantly on, could not ever be turned off, and broadcast government propaganda.

  • ibn insha

    If the same this is done by a private company the public and politicians would be all up in arms.