AT&T Customers: Why Can’t We Turn These Damn Obama Alerts Off Our iPhones!?
June 19, 2013 by Ben Bullard
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…